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Calling all social workers...Training to be a social worker, where do I begin?

(12 Posts)
Iamgiulietta Sun 29-Jul-12 22:19:08

Hi, I'm currently a SAHM, 2 dc ages 3 and 8. I'm looking at retraining to be a social worker starting sept 2013 when dc2 starts ft school. I would like to do a masters as it is 2 years, I already have a degree, but it is in natural sciences not social sciences,and I only got a Desmond. I would be willing to do the degree if I couldnt get a place on the masters. Because it is centuries since I was last in education I don't have an academic reference, I walked out of my last job so i dare not ask them for one, i have 8 years work experience as an advice worker butI having rung round 3
local universities and spoken to admissions departments I will need to get some more relevant work experience. To this end I am looking at doing some voluntary work. There are opportunities locally to me which include home start, Mencap, befriender in a women's refuge, doing homeless meals. Anyone have any idea which would be most useful? I apologise if this does not make much sense as I am typing on my phone. TIA

slipperandpjsmum Tue 31-Jul-12 09:46:03

I am a social worker.

What area of social work would you like to work in; children and families, adults, mental health? I would try and get the experience in the area you are interested in. Social work is a very mis-understood profession and if you could find a social worker who you could have a chat with that would be really useful to(I did that and found it very useful), failing that there is always me!

Homestart is always a popular choice for experience. I am not sure what you would be doing volunteering for Mencap and a befriender in a women's refuge certainly sounds interesting. Find out how many hours you need. I know alot of the MA course require a min of 250 hours.

Have you thought of an access course? I didn't do one but alot of the women on my degree had done and seemed to find it helped.

I have been out of education for 24 years when I went back to uni and it was daunting but amazing. I loved it all and I love being a social worker.

Just one last thing social work is a vocation not a job and it can be very tough. It can take over your life if you let it but go for it - its an amazing profession to be involved in.

Let me know if I can be of any more help

Iamgiulietta Tue 31-Jul-12 22:00:23

Slippers, thanks for your reply. I am looking for a vocation to be honest, I sound really naive but I want to do something that will
Make a difference to people's lives. I can't decide which aspect of social work I want to go into, I have in the past worked with vulnerable adults with mental health issues, alcohol issues which is why I would like to work with adults but I am also interested in working with families.this makes me sound really woolly headed. I haven't thought about an access course cos I already have a degree, it seems like more expense..I have just started looking at some free course stuff on the Ou around social work practice. I was wondering about approaching the council to see if I could shadow a social worker for the day. What sort of work do you specialise in. friends of mine work in a sheltered housing scheme for people with drug and alcohol problems, if I could get some voluntary work there as well as the home start stuff do you think that would be a good idea? I am looking at doing around 20 hrs pw voluntary work starting this September.

slipperandpjsmum Wed 01-Aug-12 09:27:24

I went into social work to make the world a better place smile and most sw motivation are around making a difference, improving lives etc. What could be a better reason!

I stuck to what I had my pre qualifying experience in and if you enjoyed what you have done before then that prob the best way forward.

If you have a degree have you thought about applying to the step up programme. I am taking a student in sept who is doing it that way. There is alot of competition to get on but there is on the sw courses in general.

I have had people shadow me before but they already worked in different areas of related social care and I am not sure because of confidentiality if you could shadow a sw. But if you have any contacts then its worth asking, at the least they may let go into the office for a chat, which I did.

I am in children and families social work, working for a large inner city authority. Whereabouts are you based?

In terms of experience find out what the uni you want to go to requires and aim for that. There is no need to have loads of extra hours, thats just a part of what they are looking for.

weaselbudge Wed 01-Aug-12 20:53:26

hello, i'm in the same situation and really interested in any advice you could give! My potential uni requires 6 months full time relevant experience or part time equivalent - it's difficult to get that much experience so was thinking about doing a number of different volunteer placements to make up the time. The uni is pretty vague about what sort of experience would be best to ensure acceptance on the course so I was thinking of getting together a proposal of potential volunteer placements and calling up the admissions dept. What was you pre qual experience slippers?

How old will you be iam and were you slippers if you don't mind me asking when you will start/started the training? I will be late thirties but i figure that still leaves 30 years potential working so not too late..
Unfort the area where i live doesn't do Step Up currently. Do you know whether you have to pay fees for a normal masters? I couldn't work this out from the website.

Tigglette Wed 01-Aug-12 22:10:47

Another way you could go is to try employer based distance learning - the OU and Robert Gordon's university both have good courses. You need to be working a minimum of 16 hours per week but it means you continue to gain experience (and earn) while gaining qualification. With your existing degree and previous experience you may get late entry at Robert Gordon's which means 2.5 years instead of 4. Fees for RGU are around £3k a year so the shorter course makes a huge difference.

slipperandpjsmum Thu 02-Aug-12 08:39:33

I was in my late 30s when I trained. I believe its a real advantage entering sw later on. I watch some of my colleagues who are in their 20s getting a real hard time from families and other professionals. Whereas when you are older people tend to assume you know what you are doing - even if you don't!! Also having some life experience is a real bonus.

I worked in residential settings for years as a support worker prior to applying. I would say you are looking for something that gives you direct contact with vulnerable groups. Are there any residential units for children within your area they are always looking for staff and you would get paid? I would be fantastic experience. I have posted before that sw is a very misunderstood profession and that type of experience would really help you to see the job for what it is.

I have only ever come across one student who did it through OU over the number of years I have worked with students (we had alot when I was a support worker) but apply for as much as you can and then that increases your chances.

I am not sure what is happening with the Bursaries as sw makes the transition from the GSCC and I know there has been alot of talk on here with people worried about debt. What I would say is think of your ceiling of earning potential now and compare that with that of a qualified sw. I looked at is as an investment. My salary as a sw began at the top grade of a support worker. You don't pay back until you start earning above a certain amount and its deducted in a manageable amount, mine is around £50 a month and I have a large debt as I applied for everything I could as didn't want our family to struggle because of what I wanted to do (I have 4 dcs).

Which area of sw are you interested in wease? Whereabouts in the country do you live?

Wowserz129 Thu 02-Aug-12 22:24:31

to the other social workers, would working in a care home count as experience? There is normally lots of jobs in that field

AlmostHadItAll Tue 17-Sep-13 12:54:12

I'm bumping up this thread because it is what I was about to post.

I'm currently working in the finance sector. I absolutely hate it. Have done since I started 15 years ago truth be told. But you get stuck don't you?

Anyhow, I work 16 hours a week and am quite frankly very bored. I have always wanted to get involved with the social sector, but it seems very difficult to get into.

I turned 40 this year and would like to do something now before it's too late. I have looked at the Diploma in Social Care through the OU. But I see that I can't do the degree without an employer sponsor. What are the chances of me getting a job with that support without any experience? Apart from life experience that is!

Hopefully the very helpful Slipper is still around?

Hardtofindwork Tue 17-Sep-13 13:34:07

I am working along side a few people in Dimensions that are using the Support Worker role to gain relevant experience so I agree that this can be a useful path.

hoochymama1 Wed 02-Oct-13 13:35:20

Hi, AlmostHadItAll I think that a lot of what Slippers said still stands. I was a primary teacher and did an MA in Social Work when I was 50. My first degree was in English, and I only had a 2:2. I found that my fees were (mostly)paid through bursary, then I got about 6k a year in grants. My dh is working so we managed. I finished last month and now am taking up a job in MH.

I've loved doing the MA, it's been challenging but sooo stimulating. Think of what you are interested in and get experience in those areas.

The local youth offending service needs mentors, for instance. Also charities such as age uk, or womens aid always need volunteers.

I applied through UCAS, to local universities. Give it a go!

Best of luck grin

GemmaM26 Wed 23-Sep-15 14:28:53

i also am looking to shadow a social worker, want to apply for a certificate of higher education in social care, it requires 10 days shadowing experience through out the course, and i have absolutely no idea where to start, i do not work in a social care setting (I'm a nanny) so cannot apply for the degree, as i also have no sponsor, any help would be great.

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