Working as a Social Worker in the 21st Century
Social workers help people to find solutions to the problems troubling them, however big or small, they form relationships with people and help them to live more successfully in their day to day lives.
They engage not only with the clients but with a wide network of their friends and relations, whilst working alongside key organisations such as the police, councils and schools. They work at an extremely personal level and this is where potential problems can occur. Balancing relationships with all of these individuals and organisations is by no means an easy task, but it is an extremely vital part of the care given to those in need in the UK.
Social work is a fantastic career for people who are outgoing, who love meeting new people and who really want to make a long lasting difference to people’s lives. It is true that social care has not had the best reputation over the past few years. 6 years after the case was taken to court, the death of Baby P still haunts the reputation of the social care industry.
There have been many other instances where investigations have had to be carried out into the mistreatment or neglect of clients. But if you think of the thousands of people receiving help from social workers up and down the country, the few who have had bad experiences are most definitely in the minority.
In order to restore public faith in the industry, a new social work recruitment scheme has been put in place to ensure that the sector attracts the best candidates for its jobs. The scheme fast-tracks the brightest graduates in an attempt at giving the profession a better reputation in light of recent scandals involving social workers. The idea is that the public will see that skilled and able people are going into the industry and will therefore have more faith in its capabilities.
But is this just a publicity stunt?
There are many people who know that they want to be a social worker from early on; they are passionate and dedicated and often take specialist social care courses at university to become qualified. Of course there will still be opportunities out there for these people. 200 highly intelligent high-profile graduates are not going to fulfil the social care needs for an entire nation. The passionate individuals whose lifelong dream is to go into social care will be the backbone of the industry, but for some reason the public won’t trust passion as qualification enough.
It seems that the biggest problem that the social care industry faces today is not the people working within it, but the proposed cuts that the government is aiming to put in place. Social care is arguably already underfunded and understaffed, and cutting the budget further can only make social workers’ jobs harder. But this new recruitment scheme seems to be a step in the right direction. It seems that the government is investing money into a much needed cause and that they are trying to transform the reputation of a vilified profession.