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Social work or social work assistant

(15 Posts)
Ohmygoodness123 Fri 21-Oct-16 07:21:36

Hi, this is my first time posting. I am really hoping to get some opinions and honest reviews.. I am currently on a access to HE in social sciences with a view to going into social work, but considering social work assistant or social worker. I would really like some personal experience and information from people who are working or have worked in these roles.. many thanks xx

TallulahTheTiger Fri 21-Oct-16 07:25:11

Depends which avenue of
SW you want to go into and why you want to do it! SW these days is very target/budget driven- tons of paperwork and very very stressful! If it's people contact you like SWA posts have more service user contact.

TheDrsDocMartens Fri 21-Oct-16 07:30:33

Are you looking at Childrens or adults services? I've been a family worker in CS.

Ohmygoodness123 Fri 21-Oct-16 08:11:57

Thanks for the replies.. I am think more people contact and I am not sure if children or adults. I am thinking more towards the adult end but not yet firmly decided.. I am going to do a degree in health and social care so I have a bit of time to decide x

wowbutter Fri 21-Oct-16 08:17:53

To be a social worker you need a degree in it.
So, if your plan is a degree is HSC that's about three years, plus another year for your SW MA and that is if you do them full time.

You could go into social care and work directly with people, most SWs I gave my are miserable and have very little contact time.

Superc3228 Fri 21-Oct-16 22:26:44

I'd say try and do some volunteering or paid part time work in social care locally. Social care and social work is a really broad area, this way you can get an idea of the people you enjoy working with and also how the job roles are divided up in different areas.
I'd say as a social worker, yes there is a lot of paperwork but your role gives you the ability to act in your clients interests in a way that sometimes the social care roles don't, even though you get less contact time with people overall. I spent a lot of years in social care working with adults, loved it...anti-social hours got more difficult for me though.
Try and shadow a social worker as's not an easy time at the moment for social work recruitment as there seem to be a lot of spending cuts, but I think the role will continue in some form otherwise there will be a big gap...could be biased saying that but hey.
All the best xx

Ohmygoodness123 Sat 22-Oct-16 07:08:40

Thanks wow.. that's the route I was thinking of taking but not sure if I wanted all the responsibilities that goes with being a qualified social worker. Superc I am looking into volunteering as well as I know it will give me the experience I need and insight into the roles. X

PoldarksBreeches Sat 22-Oct-16 07:15:24

If you have the opportunity to qualify I'm not sure why you wouldn't. All the SWAs I know are people who didn't necessarily plan to do that as a job and would like to qualify but can't do it for financial or family reasons.
I was a SWA for many years but my job no longer exists and nor do many other SWA jobs. Bear in mind that when jobs have to go it will be the unqualified ones that go as they can't hold cases.
If you want a career, do your degree now while you can.

Ohmygoodness123 Sat 22-Oct-16 07:40:59

Hi there poldarks.. a bit of background.. I am 43 so was concerned by the time I qualify I would be closer to 50. So it is a bit of the financial and family commitments as such. Not sure if my age will go against although legally it shouldn't. Going back into education has been relatively pain free but it's been I long time, I left school in 1989 smile

PoldarksBreeches Sat 22-Oct-16 08:28:12

Ok I see! Your age won't count against you, far from it. We have 2 NQSWs in our team in their 40s/50s and a SSW in her 40s. It's very normal in social work.

tankerdale Sat 22-Oct-16 09:42:23

You can start as social work assistant and then do employment based training to get qualification? It also depends if you feel you're academic and enjoy studying. In my team there is very little difference between what the social work assistants do and what the social workers do - the qualified staff get paid better.

tankerdale Sat 22-Oct-16 09:43:51

In adult social work, social work assistants do hold cases. They're not meant to do safeguarding enquiries but in our team they do.

PoldarksBreeches Sat 22-Oct-16 10:29:55

You can't do employment based training in social work.

alltouchedout Sat 22-Oct-16 10:32:52

You can Poldarks. The open uni:

PoldarksBreeches Sat 22-Oct-16 11:08:12

ITs not employment based though. You study on top of work and do placements like any other student, although one can be in your place of work.
I know you need to be employed in a relevant field to do social work with the OU but your actual employment isn't part of your training.

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