Social work is a vital part of Adult Social Care as it focuses on improving the lives of vulnerable individuals through a mix of practical and emotional support. As a social worker you will have the opportunity to help your clients discover solutions to problems which will make their lives better or protect them from harm. Being a social worker requires sensitivity and strong interpersonal skills. It can be an emotional job as you may hear distressing stories but the positive impact you could make to people’s lives makes it extremely rewarding.
The role of a social worker is to provide support and advice to your clients, who may be children or adults who are feeling particularly vulnerable.
There is a broad spectrum of those you could help. You may be working with people with learning difficulties, the elderly, the homeless, carers and parents, recovering addicts and former offenders. In each case, you are there to provide sage advice, understanding and practical help.
While the range is wide, the reality is that you would ultimately specialise with either adults, or with children and families.
As with all roles within the care sector, you need to be someone driven by compassion and empathy. While each client is different, your approach to supporting them will always remain the same. Assessing their needs and current situation requires patience on your part, the ability to listen, and knowing what action to take and when.
Central to the role is the relationship you build with your clients, your ability to action help, and even make decisions for them, which can often be the situation in child protection cases. You may also have to liaise with other professionals, offer counselling and manage support plans. Building trust is vital not just with your clients but also with other agencies and professionals, from teachers and health workers to members of the police or the prison service.
There are many facets to the job. You will be expected to be an enthusiastic team member, someone who can manage and inspire colleagues, as well as a detailed organiser of reports and records. You may also be required to give evidence when a particular case demands it.
A social worker would spend their working day in an office but with regular visits to health centres, residential homes and other settings.