Cath - Step Up to Social Work
Hi Cath, why did you decide to become a social worker?
It was a natural progression for me. I have worked with children and families in different capacities for a long time, and I felt it was time to take the next step towards a role where I can use all the skills I have learned and developed over the years.
What has the support been like while you’ve been training?
I have found the support to be very good. I have learned a lot from my practice educators and supervisors, been given different opportunities and challenges, and the social workers, keyworkers and personal advisers I have met on placement have all been supportive during my time in their teams. I was glad that I was able to do both placements in statutory teams, as I feel this is important experience for newly qualified social workers. It was also very important to have the other Wiltshire students as peer support, as we all went through the process together.
What are the challenges?
The course is also condensed into 14 months so was very intensive. Being a mature student going back to University was a challenge. It has been a juggle to complete academic work within tight timescales whilst at the same time being back in the classroom as well as on placement, plus completing the student portfolio. However, this has stood me in good stead as the role of social worker can be demanding and challenging in itself.
What are the highlights?
The highlights were meeting other student colleagues, not only from Wiltshire, but from other authorities nearby, and learning from them. Being part of the small group of Wiltshire – based students on the course was good as we all supported each other. Learning from the people in the teams I was placed in was also invaluable.
Having gained all the experience over the past 14 months both at Uni and on placement, helped to prepare me for the interview for the ASYE post in the team that I wanted.
What has it been like training during the pandemic?
The main challenge of studying during the Covid-19 pandemic has been working from home in isolation, which made feeling part of the team a lot more difficult. I have not met everyone in my current team face to face, and have primarily been in contact with people virtually. As social work is based on creating relationships with people, this has added a considerable layer of complexity to the work.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a social worker?
The Step-up course is intensive and hard work but has provided the experiences necessary to promote my confidence in starting my new role. Be prepared to learn more about yourself as well as what you need to become a social worker, and although it is challenging, the end result makes it worthwhile.
Read more about the Step Up to Social Work programme