During my time at Solent, I had many opportunities to get experience; such as working placements in which you work within either a statutory or voluntary agency and partake in daily social work alongside a range of professionals, gaining hands on experience. This gave a valuable and very special approach to the academic work as I feel it offered an honest and frank insight into the reality of the highs, lows and challenges that a social work career offers.
My favourite moment at Solent is hard to pinpoint as there have been many moments that I cherish. I have made some wonderful friends and have met and worked closely with a great network of professionals. Throughout the course I have identified and felt times of self growth, determination and achievement. One of the most special highlights for me was having my two sons present at my graduation. They had been on the university journey with me and it was so very beautiful to have them with me to celebrate!
I graduated from Solent in July 2017 and started my job as a full time children's and families social worker two weeks later. My current position is actually within the same team I was in within my university placement.
My placement at Solent gave me an opportunity to find my passion and my place within social work, and I absolutely love my job and my team.
My day can consist of many different activities, which include communicating with a wide variety of professionals - police, schools, midwives, housing, doctors, etc. I undertake statutory visits, complete sensitive and analytical case notes, assessments and referrals, and attend meetings. Sometimes there are crisis situations that arise that need immediate attention and these can happen at any time.
A typical day can be extremely busy and there is no denying time management, emotional resilience, empathy and reflection are key skills within this profession.
As a social worker, it is important to be driven in promoting social change in an empowering manner, working in partnership with clients to support them in identifying their inner strengths and resources, alongside working and communicating with a professional network to safeguard vulnerable individuals using legislation, policies and guidance if necessary.
To me, social work is a disciplined profession in which I am responsible in identifying and tentatively exploring presenting risks and situations that children and families may need support with managing via intervention and/or safeguarding.
Promoting and supporting autonomy is a very important core strand of the work, and the profession operates within a framework of legislation and policy that must be adhered to. Working in a respectful manner and communicating effectively is key to successful social work.
My tips to someone wanting a career in social services would be:
- Remain passionate and true to your core values and beliefs.
- Appreciate your team on placements.
- Appreciate the knowledge the lecturers have and attend all lectures - missing one can set you back!
- Utilise the experiences on offer and remain curious. Explore and critically analyse current research.
- Get a diary and reflect on/document your growth and challenges. Learn the legislation and statutory guidance.
- Take time to look after yourself - self care is important!