Until I got talking with Think Ahead at a recruitment fair I hadn’t considered a career as a social worker, and I knew very little about social work. I knew I was looking for something challenging, exciting, and with the opportunity for progression, but I’d resisted applying for other graduate schemes because I didn’t want to be stuck in an office.
I also knew I wanted a career that would mean I could help people in some capacity. Growing up I’d worked as a part-time carer for my disabled cousin and volunteered for a local charity which ran after-school classes for children with learning difficulties, teaching them independent living skills. I’d also spent time volunteering in Malawi with the National Citizen Service, where I came across people who had HIV or other long-term illnesses, or lived in poverty – and I could see the impact that had on their mental health.
I had thought I might end up following a career in law, but I realised that interacting with people and being able to see the tangible difference I was making was the best thing about volunteering. So it was the opportunity to be out on the frontline helping people that really sold Think Ahead to me.
I’ve also had experience with mental health issues within my own family, related to ill-health and bereavement, and I’ve always felt that mental health is one of the biggest challenges in society. Using a social approach, talking to people and treating them as individuals rather than just a diagnosis, really resonates with me. I can’t imagine a more rewarding job.