Myth-busting – the truth about a great social work career
By Luke Aldred
We’ve deconstructed some myths below to uncover the truth about a career in social work.
Myth #1 - There’s no variety in social work
Social work is diverse and incredibly flexible, allowing you to carve the career you want.
If you’re interested in working as a children’s social worker, for example, you could choose to work in child protection settings or a fostering team. You could specialise in helping children with their mental health through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) or you could look after children with disabilities.
Similarly, for those choosing to specialise in adult services, there is plenty of diversity. Common roles specialise in working with older people, hospital social work or working with adults impacted by learning disabilities.
Myth #2 - Anyone can call themselves a social worker
‘Social worker’ is a protected title. Only those with an approved qualification and who are fully registered with their regulatory body are allowed to call themselves a social worker. This aids the credibility of the profession which is often seen as a frontline emergency service, behind the police, fire and ambulance brigades.
Myth #3 - Social work is just a job
For social workers, it’s never just a job. It’s a vocation where they can make a difference to someone’s life. Great social work practice is about making a meaningful impact and understanding that the relationships you build can have a lasting effect.
Myth #4 - Social work is poorly paid
Like many other professions, social work salaries are based upon experience and responsibility. For newly qualified social workers who have completed their training, they can expect to earn between £25-30k per annum. Earning potential will increase as you progress, regardless of what service you are working in.
If you are interested in moving into social work and already have a degree, you could benefit from a fully-funded post-graduate diploma via the Frontline fast track scheme. Applicants will be able to combine learning whilst they earn, with opportunities to receive a tax and NI exempt bursary of £18,000 or £20,000 in London.
Myth #5 - There’s a lack of career progression for social workers
Our blog on social work career progression explores the linear and sideways steps you can take. Locum social workers are likely to gain experience across a variety of settings and have plenty of opportunities to progress their career.
If you have any questions about the social work profession, please get in touch.