Training and development
During your social work training, you will divide your time between studying and 200 days of supervised work placements. You would be trained to work with a range of service users, so that you can offer varied experience to future employers.
While training, your university will make you aware of Social Work England’s standards of conduct, performance and ethics, which are part of the professional code of practice. It is important that you understand these as any breach during training (or later) could have major consequences for further training and registration.
Once your training is complete, you must register with Social Work England. You will need to renew your registration every two years so that you can continue to practise. To do this, you should keep your knowledge and skills up to date throughout your career.
Once you’ve qualified and found your first job, what can you expect from your first year of a career in social work? As a newly-qualified social worker, you will continue your development with support from your employer through the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE), which replaces the NQSW scheme. This is a 12-month programme and is available to social workers in the statutory, private and voluntary sectors. You would be given a caseload to develop your skills and confidence and receive ongoing support from your line manager or social work supervisor. You would be continually assessed in your work and, on completion, you would gain certification from the College of Social Work.
The programme is based on the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF), which sets the standards of knowledge, skills and values social workers should demonstrate at each stage of their career from trainee level up to experienced member of staff.
As a region, we are making a commitment to all of our newly qualified children’s social workers that you will receive a formal, tailored induction programme and ongoing support throughout your career.
You will be fully supported by your manager and a dedicated team who are passionate about the work they do. You’ll be given a full induction into a range of areas, including things like:
- Personal Safety
- Mandatory Health and Safety
- Introduction to Attachment Theory
- Introduction to Assessment and Analysis
- Legal Processes, Drugs and Alcohol Awareness
- Report Writing
- Public Law Outline and
- Chairing Meetings.
To ensure you have the time to absorb all of the new information you are receiving and spend time on each individual case, you will be given a year of protected time with a manageable caseload.
Assessment and accreditation
The government is currently working to introduce a National Assessment and Accreditation System (NAAS) for child and family social workers as part of their reforms of children’s social care. As outlined in Putting children first: delivering our vision for excellent children’s social care, the aim of the accreditation process is to give employers assurance that all children’s social workers have the skills they need to do the job, as well as helping to build public confidence in the profession. The Department for Education (DfE) also hopes the test can offer “a window into practice” and act as a learning tool for practitioners.
Accreditation is expected to be introduced at three levels – child and family practitioners (essentially frontline staff), practice supervisors (more senior social workers with management responsibilities) and practice leaders (assistant directors have been earmarked for this role).
Social workers give advice and support to vulnerable individuals, families, and those living on the margins of society. They are responsible for helping people to get access to the services they need to improve their situation and well-being.
If you specialise in working with children and families, your job is likely to include:
- Assessing and reviewing a client’s situation
- Protecting children from harm
- Building trusting relationships with service users and their families
- Responding to requests for help
- Agreeing what practical support someone needs (or making decisions for them when necessary, such as in child protection cases)
- Acting as a key worker, co-ordinating other professionals involved in providing support
- Offering information, counselling and advocacy
- Organising and managing support plans
- Taking part in team meetings and case conferences
- Supervising team members and volunteers
- Keeping records and writing reports
- Giving evidence at court hearings, when required.
You will be working closely with other agencies and professionals such as health workers, youth workers, teachers, the police and probation services.
In many jobs you would mainly work standard office hours, with some nights on call on a rota basis. If you work in a residential setting you are more likely to work shifts as part of a team providing a 24-hour service. Part-time hours and job sharing are often available.
Your time is likely to be split between an office and other locations such as service users’ homes, day and residential centres, hospitals and health centres.
Starting salaries for a career in social work range from £19,500 to £25,000 a year .
With more experience and responsibility, your salary could rise to between £26,000 and £40,000.
(These figures are intended as a guideline only.)
Check out the children’s social work jobs we have on offer in Yorkshire and Humber.