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Anyone here a social worker?

(5 Posts)
beautifulswan Thu 23-Jun-11 11:03:55

I am thinking of retraining. I have only had part time jobs (which I've mainly hated) since my DD was born 9 years ago and can't stand the thought of a lifetime of this. I would love to do something worth while which I would enjoy and social worker seems to fit the bill.

However, I have little in the way of qualifications but quite a lot of life experience. Would I be accepted as a mature student or would I need more on my CV such as voluntary work? Are there any universities considered best for this course? Would I need to do an access course? Would I apply through UCAS?

Any advice greatly appreciated!

slipperandpjsmum Thu 23-Jun-11 15:46:09

I am a social worker with Children and Families. I did the degree with an NVQ 3 in Caring for Children and young people. I didn't do an access course or have many qualifiactions.

Experience is important but social work has changed alot over the last few years and alot of importance is put on academic achievement as well, as the job is very report writing based rather than direct work with families.

Not sure what you mean by life experience but voluntary work would be a bonus. It would also show you which group of people you would like to work with.

Social Work is quite a mis-understood career. Its rarely rewarding given the stress of the systems in which you work, although the voluntary sector is more so. When I worked as a Support worker I found that far more satisfying and that I was making a real difference.

Some universities are better regarded than others as with all degrees but dep on your family life the closest one to home may be the best choice for you.

Hope that helps?

beautifulswan Mon 27-Jun-11 11:12:37

Thanks Slippers for your post. It's interesting about the report based/admin side of the job, I've heard this before and once knew a woman who left due to this. I have done lots of voluntary work in schools and Brownies etc just not currently doing any so wondered if that'd go against me.

I'm out in the sticks so I guess London would be nearest to me, but I can only see two that offer the degree, The City (looks rather lovely and prestigious and requires an Access course) or Docklands which isn't going to be cheap to get to! How do I know if Docklands is any good?

slipperandpjsmum Mon 27-Jun-11 15:26:47

Prior to qualifying where I worked we had alot of sw students so I got alot of feedback from them and it soon became clear which unis were good and which were not. I know the Times has done a Top Ten list in the past. Community Care website may have some info and they also have chat rooms. Its worth bearing in mind many unis are now considering reducing their numbers on the courses for a number of reasons, one of which being there are not enough placements for students.

I work for a borough very similar to the London boroughs and I must warn you London is regarded as one of the toughest areas for sw - high caseloads, lack of good supervision, challenging work without appropriate support. I don't want to put you off at all but think its best to be honest.

There are student sw websites might be worth going on there and asking if anyone is going to the unis you mentioned and see what they say.

If I were you (and I did not do this) I would try and avoid the cities as a newly qualified its a baptisum of fire!! Where I work people are really thrown in at the deep end and its not good for anyone. When I first started I was doing things in my first week other sw in different authorities were not doing in their first year!!!

As I said I don't want to put you off - its just something to consider.

beautifulswan Tue 28-Jun-11 23:44:47

Slippers, thank you very much for all your honest and invaluable advice. I have lots more research to do!

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