what to take on the first day of a social work job

What to take on the first day of a social work job

By Gemma Raw

​Do you remember the feeling of turning up on the first day of school with a brand-new pencil case and some new pens? As a locum social worker, you’ll likely be used to this feeling – after all, starting a new job with a new set of stationery can be a ritual for many.

Often, Here's how you can ensure that your first day goes smoothly and you settle in nicely:

Make sure your paperwork is complete

If you’ve applied for your new social work job role through Sanctuary, then you’ll know that all your compliance and right-to-work checks will have been completed ahead of your first day. This means that you can jump right in and get started on the task in hand. 

But if you haven’t applied through Sanctuary then your first morning may be spent working with the HR team to ensure that all documentation is finalised. You will need to bring along various forms of paperwork with you including a copy of your passport, your national insurance card, your driving licence, proof of your address and a copy of any right to work in the UK documentation (if applicable). If you’re working in a new permanent role, you’ll also need a copy of your P45 as well.

Have some stationery to hand

Your new employer may provide you with stationery but it may be worthwhile making sure that you have a pen and a small notepad at the bottom of your bag. On your first day, you may also wish to pack a light lunch to take with you. It’s always difficult to know what catering facilities are available in any new job.

Tools to help you connect with children and young people

If you’re working in a children’s social services team, then you’ll have a variety of tricks up your sleeve to help you gain the trust and confidence of children and young people. We’ve previously asked our social work community what tools they use, and the following options were suggested;

  • Worryeater toy

  • Lego bricks

  • Colouring pad and pens

  • Mini football

  • Balloons

We’re not suggesting that you always have these stashed away in your handbag – after all, it would become the size of a small suitcase! However, if you do have any tools that you rely on to help break the ice with any children or teenagers, then it’s worthwhile making sure that it’s easily accessible as you head to your first client meeting.

Tools to support adult social care

Of course, it’s not just children and young people who benefit from a variety of social work tools. If you’re an experienced adult social worker, you’ll also have your own items that help you work efficiently and effectively. Our community have previously told us that they have used a pack of playing cards, a mug holder and even a sensory ball to help them work with adults. Of course, every person is different and what works for one client may not work for another. 

If you’re ready for your first day but you still have a few last-minute nerves, please contact your Sanctuary consultant who will be able to offer support.

We have written a selection of pieces around starting and navigating your social work career.