From a young age in secondary school, I knew that I wanted to work with young people as I loved seeing my younger family members. This passion developed throughout my sixth-from experience as I chose to undertake my Level 3 in Child Care and Education which enabled me to get multiple and diverse placements. These placement opportunities enhanced my dream to one day work with vulnerable children and this meant I knew that social work would be the best fit for me. After realising this in my first year of sixth form, I chose to work in a family support centre as a placement where I would gain more relevant experience and skills needed for becoming a social worker.
What kind of impact do you want to make on people’s lives?
My aim is to support young people and families who might be struggling and need support to ensure that they can make positive changes or to empower them to make positive decisions for themselves and their family. Within this, advocating for the young people to ensure that each individual has their needs met by empowering them to voice their needs/concerns.
What advice would you give to any A Level or BTEC students about their studies?
I would suggest that if you have an interest in becoming a social worker, you should try to build connections with relevant professionals to gain possible experience and to develop your knowledge of the profession. This will ensure that it is the right fit for you. There are loads of networks on social media that you can follow to get some background information about what might be occurring in the social care sector today.
What advice would you give to these students about a) getting relevant work experience; and b) developing the right skills and knowledge for social work?
I would try and get placement opportunities around your current studies or in the summer holidays. This way, you can build your portfolio of skills developed from your experiences. Try to ensure that the placements are within a care sector which can include a care home or nursery etc. Just try and focus on an area you are passionate about. Mine was working with children so I found placements in multiple nurseries, schools and within a family support centre.
What have you enjoyed most about the course so far?
A definite highlight of the course so far has to be my first social work placement. This was based in a secondary school, working with the onsite social worker. I was able to develop skills that I have learnt during the course and make a difference to young people’s lives within my own caseload.
Has anything surprised you?
I think I had a good understanding of what was going to occur during the past three years based on the information provided on the University’s website. However, one piece of advice would be to put the effort into your research and reading as it really helps during assessments and seminar work.
Has your understanding of social work changed since you started the course and if so, how?
I don’t think my understanding has changed apart from learning in more depth. This has enhanced my own ethics and values that correlate with social worker practice. The course has enabled me to think deeply about each aspect such as multi-agency working and how it is vital within any social care practice.