Top 5 tips to get into Social Work
Deciding to train in a new profession can be daunting. Whether it is your first job, a career change or a logical next step, it can be difficult to know if you're making the best decision. To help you decide if Social Work is right for you, our Principal Lecturer Jim Greer gives his top tips on getting into Social Work.
1. Find out what the role of a Qualified Social Worker involves
The website Community Care (https://www.communitycare.co.uk/) is a good source of news and information about professional social work and the challenges and opportunities that it offers. You can also ask any friends or relatives or friends of friends who do the job what it is like and what they find fulfilling about it. In addition, here at the University of Cumbria, we hold Open Days throughout the year, giving you the chance to meet and ask questions with the lecturers on your preferred course.
2. Gain valuable experience through volunteering
I would recommend getting some voluntary work experience with people who need help with social problems or social isolation. This will help you to identify what strengths you have in working with people and whether you have a passion for it. Social work is a vocation for people with a commitment to social justice and it is important to have a strong belief in wanting to improve people's lives. You should aim to demonstrate this when you go for an interview for a job or course.
3. Register with the Professional Regulator
Social Worker is a protected title so if you want to become a professional social worker the route to this is studying for a course that allows you to register with the Professional Regulator. The University of Cumbria offers a BA and an MA programme in Social Work, both of which enable graduates to apply for registration with the Social Work Professional Regulator.
4. Find the route that is right for you
For those who do not have an Honours Degree the most common way to qualify as a social worker is to study for a 3 year BA or BSc Honours in Social Work. Another route is a Degree Apprenticeship, this is normally accessed by people currently in health service related employment who get a secondment by their employer. If you already have an Honours Degree the most common route is to study on an MA or an MSc programme.
5. Explore specialist areas
There are fast track programmes available built around a specialism such as child and family social work or mental health. To discuss available specialisms and which path is right for you, speak to one of our lecturers at our Open Day.
Qualified social workers are much in demand and work with vulnerable people, children, and families. They aim to promote independence through a process of empowerment so that people can make informed choices about actions that enrich their lives. Social work offers a fulfilling career helping to improve the lives of others.
To find out more about our Social Work programmes or to chat to our lecturers, book on to one of our Open Day events.