Your social care career resource
Sanctuary Social Care is committed to celebrating the best in the profession, sharing good practice and promoting
excellence in social work. Our social work careers hub is a central resource for professionals at every stage of their career. We hope you find it useful!
Highly engaging, our social care blogs have been created with one aim in mind; to provide informative social work careers insights. So, whether you need some CV pointers, want to brush-up on your interview skills or would like to know what it is like to work in a different environment, our blog is a great resource.
Prioritising your social work CPD
We know that your Continuing Professional Development is important to you. Not just because it’s a key factor in retaining your professional registration, but because you care about continually improving your social work skills and supporting those in need. If you’re working as a social worker in England, then you may know that following the switch of the professional regulator to Social Work England, you’ll now be expected to renew your registration (and demonstrate evidence of your CPD) annually. There is an online portal on the Social Work England website which will allow you to upload your records digitally and it’s important that your activities adhere to the new regulator’s required standards which are detailed below.Incorporate feedback from a range of sources, including from people with lived experience of my social work practice. Use supervision and feedback to critically reflect on, and identify my learning needs, including how I use research and evidence to inform my practice. Keep my practice up to date and record how I use research, theories and frameworks to inform my practice and my professional judgement. Demonstrate good subject knowledge on key aspects of social work practice and develop knowledge of current issues in society and social policies impacting on social workContribute to an open and creative learning culture in the workplace to discuss, reflect on and share best practice. Reflect on my learning activities and evidence what impact continuing professional development has on the quality of my practice. Record my learning and reflection on a regular basis and in accordance with Social Work England’s guidance on continuing professional development. Reflect on my own values and challenge the impact they have on my practice Source: Social Work EnglandAt Sanctuary, we’re here to help our social work community work effectively. Therefore, we’ve listed a few tips below which may help you to make your CPD a priority in 2020. Break your CPD down into different areasA great way to ensure that you’re benefiting from well-rounded professional development is to break your CPD down into different areas. You could choose between work-based learning, educational activities, professional activity, self-directed learning or other voluntary work to showcase to your regulator that you’re doing what you can to improve your knowledge and practice across every facet of your work. Work-based learningHow are you using reflective supervision and clinical audits to improve your practice and learning? Are you working and collaborating with peers in other teams to help provide positive outcomes? Are you part of your local safeguarding board or any other committees? Perhaps you’re providing support and supervision to NQSWs and other junior members of the team. Educational learningHave you participated in any training courses over the past year? Whether it’s face to face or online, there are plenty of ways for you to improve your knowledge. Events such as Community Care Live can be a great way for you to attend seminars and workshops based on areas of professional interest.Professional activityYou may be involved in regional committee groups (perhaps with organisations such as BASW) or maybe you’ve presented lectures or workshops in front of your peers. If you’re sharing your knowledge, then you are clearly contributing to an ‘open learning culture’. Self-Directed learningAre you taking time for yourself to read the latest news and information? We’re not just talking about reading lengthy textbooks – but making use of blogs, podcasts and joining in with social media conversations can help you to develop new viewpoints and learn from others’ perspectives.If you’re working with Sanctuary, then you’ll know that we provide free access to Social Work News magazine. This is another resource that you should make use of; each issue features interviews and details of social work projects from across the UK. Use it to inspire you and see if it teaches you anything new. OtherAre you involved in any other activities which could be classed as a way of improving your professionalism? Perhaps you are a volunteer for a charity/community organisation, or you’re involved in public service activities. If so, make sure you log it within your portfolio – you may be surprised by how much CPD you do without realising. Little and often is always preferableWhen it comes to CPD, it’s always important to take a regular approach to your learning. You may wish to set a New Year’s resolution that you’ll allocate a few hours each month to your professional development. We understand how busy you are, and that caseloads will always take precedence but if you focus on taking a regular approach to your CPD, you’ll find it much easier to maintain your portfolio and improve your practice. It’s also important to use your allocated time to update your portfolio. There’s nothing worse than coming to the end of the year and panicking that you’re not sure what to include. Allocating a short amount of time each week or each month will allow you to track it as you go – providing a greater frame of reference for your registration renewal. Be open to feedback from users with lived experience of social work practiceGuidance from Social Work England suggests that feedback should be a core part of your CPD log – after all, it’s only by knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are that you can improve your skills. “Feedback is crucial to social work practice. It’s important to build self-awareness and be open to receiving feedback, whether positive or critical. This will help you to grow and improve in a way that informs your practice and helps you identify areas for future learning”Social Work England, November 2019The new regulator suggests that all social work practitioners should regularly ask users with lived experience of social work for feedback. It suggests that you should ask a variety of people for feedback on different areas of your practice. It could be through formal or informal discussions, through letters of recommendation, supervision or even complaints. The key thing to remember is that you need to use feedback constructively and understand that person’s viewpoint, then consider how you can use this to develop your working style. Take advantage of free opportunities where availableWe know that budgets are tighter than ever before, so it’s vital that you take advantage of free opportunities where available. Work with colleagues to share news and information with each other or see what learning initiatives are available with your local safeguarding boards.Share your knowledge with peers and colleaguesA core part of your CPD portfolio should be your contribution to creating an open learning culture within your workplace. This means that if you learn something new, make sure you share your expertise with peers. It may be information from a training course that you’ve attended, research that you’ve read online or even just anecdotal feedback from someone you’ve been working with. Learning from another is an effective way to improve services and it’s easy to understand how something can work when it’s accompanied by a realistic scenario. If you need help with your CPD portfolio this year, make use of our dedicated careers hub which is packed full of guidance.
Social work job interview guide
The countdown is on. 48 hours until your social work interview and a mixture of nerves and excitement are starting to set in. It’s easy to let some of the seemingly obvious preparations slip through the net so we’ve prepared this blog as a reminder of some of the key things not to forget!How do you prepare for a social work job interview?Plan your travelYour interview may be at a location you are familiar with, but if it’s not, you’ll want to know how long it’s going to take you to get there and the sooner you check, the better. Many of our clients have guest parking, but what if those spaces are full on the day; would you know where to park and have enough change to pay for your space?Travelling by carIf you work in frontline social work, you’ll no doubt already use navigation software, but the route planning function on Google Maps is good and might give you that extra info your Sat Nav can’t. To access this, follow these steps.Step 1: Google Maps.Go to Google Maps and click the blue arrow to the right of the search bar (when you hover over it, it will say Directions).Step 2: Finding your destination.Type in your address and your destination and then Google will come up with the address' it recognises in the white area below. Click on the correct one to activate it.Step 3: Choosing your route.Google will offer you some different routes to choose from. You will see the estimated journey time and the amount of miles between the start and end point. You may notice some coloured lines on your route, these represent the different traffic conditions; the red lines show bad traffic delays and the orange lines show medium traffic delays (usually slow moving).Travelling by trainFor those travelling by train, the National Rail app gives you live travel updates, so you can check if your train is delayed or cancelled before you leave the house.Travelling by tubeThe Tube Map Planner is great if you are planning a route on the London Underground. It will give you the fastest route and tell you where you need to change over.Choose your outfitSocial work is one of the few caring professions without a universal dress code which can leave you a little unsure what to wear. Our advice is to go smartly dressed to your social worker interview. First impressions are everything.Last minute prepOur careers hub is brimming with useful resources. We recommend downloading the following to help you prepare:Children's Services:Children's Social Work Interview guideChildren's Social Work Interview preparation sheetsAdult Services:Adult Social Work Interview guideAdult Social Work Interview preparation sheetsReviewing the typical social work interview questions you think you’re likely to be asked and starting to think about how to answer them reduces your chances of being caught out. With questions fresh in your mind, you could ask somebody else to run through a mock-interview with you. Have your ‘interviewer’ give you constructive feedback – not just on what you say but on your non-verbal communication as well. Refresh your memory on your professional history and think about how it relates to the job you are seeking, especially if you have experience within a specific area of work that sets you apart from other candidates.Be prepared for behavioural interview questions. Knowing how you performed in the past will give the employer a sense of how you might do in the future; you might be asked to recall a time when you worked under pressure, an occasion when you made a mistake, or how you handle conflict.Know your legislationWe cannot stress how important it is to review relevant legislation and policy ahead of the interview. An employer will want to know if you have a full understanding of your legal obligations as a social worker. For an adult social worker role, you’ll need to be able to comfortably talk about your obligations under the Care Act 2014. Likewise, children’s social workers will need to show they are up-to-date with the Children and Families Act 2014.What to take on the dayYour dedicated Sanctuary consultant will advise you on what you must take along with you for interview, but generally you should take:A copy of your DBS certificatePhoto ID (e.g. passport or driving licence)Details of the person that you must ask for upon arrivalThe job description and person specificationExam certificates, including any CPD accredited training certificatesPen and notepadEnjoy your social work interviewNow you can relax. All that’s left for you to do is to enjoy the interview. Remember, you’ve made the shortlist so you have already impressed on paper! Good luck!If you have any specific queries relating to your interview, please get in touch with your consultant.
Your social work career path
Social work is often described as a “passion” and a “calling”. Our community regularly talk to us about why they chose to join the profession; with many saying it’s because they had a desire to help those at their most vulnerable.As experienced recruiters, we know that you don’t just have a passion for your job, you’re ambitious to take steps along your career path to challenge yourself. We know that you’re keen to learn new skills because you know that it will help you to become better practitioners. And this is where we thrive; we do what we can to support our social workers at every stage of their career, from the moment they graduate through to the day that they decide to retire.With that in mind, we want to shine a light on how varied a career in social work can be. It excites us that there are so many opportunities to continually push yourself, and we’re proud to be by your side as you take that journey.Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSW)For the first few years of your social work career, you will be officially classed as an NQSW. This means that you’ll be provided with additional training and development opportunities. Within your first twelve months, you’ll be expected to participate in the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) - which is a twelve-month programme of support and assessment coordinated by your employer.During the year, you’ll be continually assessed against the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF). Once you’ve passed the assessments, you’ll be provided with a Fitness to Practice certificate which will confirm that you meet a national set of standards.Social WorkersOnce you’ve completed your AYSE and you have gained a few years’ experience, you can start to see new opportunities opening. You may consider whether you want to move into a more specific role, and this is where you can begin directing your professional opportunities in different directions.For instance, you may find that there are specific teams that you want to work in – examples include Integrated Neighbourhood, Learning Disabilities, Looked-After Children or Referral and Assessment Teams. There is a wealth of different teams available and each one will require a different element of social care support. You will quickly develop a specialism which will keep you motivated and professionally challenged.Experienced Social WorkerAs you become more experienced, you can start to see new duties emerge and more opportunities to develop new skills. Experienced social workers can often work more autonomously, and you may be given more complex caseloads which will really push you.At this stage of your career, you may be leaning towards gaining managerial or leadership experience. You may be interested in pursuing opportunities to chair meetings or lead multi-agency working. You may even be starting to look at opportunities to lead by example and work as a team manager.At this level, you may notice that your duties start to take you away from frontline social work into management. If you’re looking to challenge yourself yet remain working closely with families, then you may benefit from looking at principal social worker roles, which bridge the gap between frontline practice and strategic management.Advanced PractitionerAdvanced practitioners are often expected to provide leadership and promote innovation amongst their teams. It’s an ideal career path for those who are keen to participate in processes and help to develop policies and strategies.Whilst many social work job roles at this level may focus upon managerial positions, you can expand your horizons with specialist opportunities such as practice educators, independent reviewing officers or senior AMHP roles.Senior ExecutivesFor those who are keen to work in a managerial capacity, there is plenty of opportunities to progress even further thanks to Service Manager roles, Head of Service, Strategy/Commissioning Managers or even Director/Assistant Director opportunities.These high-pressured roles are about leading by example. There is little frontline work involved as you will be expected to take responsibility for entire departments and ensure that all services are able to deliver statutory care.As you can see, there are a wealth of opportunities to enjoy a fulfilling social work career and we’re proud to be able to offer a greater number of job opportunities than ever before.If you’d like to find out how we can help you achieve your dream job, then please get in touch or check out our latest social work job vacancies.
Consider how much easier it would be if securing your next role was simply a couple of clicks away. That once registered, you only ever hear about jobs that tick every box. Where you can relax and even enjoy the process. At Sanctuary Social Care, we pair our candidates with roles we know are a direct match to their skills, knowledge, experience and future aspirations.
Created by our most senior social work resourcing experts, our advice articles will give you a lift ahead of your next role. If you put just a few of our top tips into practice, you’ll feel empowered in your career journey with us.
Social Care Interview Preparation Sheet - Children's Services
If you're a Sanctuary Social Care candidate working in children's services, you'll already be a good match on paper. All you need to do ahead of your interview is simply order your thoughts and prepare your answers to some of the more frequently asked questions. Let our prep sheet help you...Fill in the form below to begin the download:If you haven't already, check out our Interview Guide; this document explains what you should do prior to the interview and what sort of answers the panel will be looking for.If you have any questions when preparing for your interview, contact your Sanctuary consultant.
Social Care CV Writing Guide
If finding a new role appeals to you, this guide will help you to prepare that all-important CV. It’ll help you identify the skills and keywords to include and advise you on the best structure.As health and social care recruitment experts, we love nothing more than singing your praises to employers. But we realise it’s not something that comes naturally to everyone, especially when talking about yourself! So, where do you start?Fill in the form below to begin the download.If you require further help with structuring your CV, please give our specialist team a call.
Social Care CV Template
Your CV is the perfect opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, knowledge, and qualifications. You’ll want to stand-out from other candidates and hone-in on the attributes that make you the ideal person for the role. You’ll need to be clear and concise in what you write and know the order in which to present the information.Please fill in the form below to download your free CV template.For any further help in writing your CV, please contact your Sanctuary consultant today.
Social Care Interview Preparation Sheet - Adult Services
As a Sanctuary Social Care candidate working in adult social care, you'll already be a good fit for the role you've applied for. Now all that's left for you to do is prepare your answers to some of the most likely interview questions. Download our prep sheet and order your thoughts...Fill in the form below to begin the download:If you haven't already, check out our Interview Guide; this document explains what you should do prior to the interview and what sort of answers the panel will be looking for.If you have any questions when preparing for your interview, contact your Sanctuary consultant.
Social Care Interview Guide - Children's Services
So you've landed an interview for the perfect social work role. That's great news. It means, on paper, you're just the right match. Now it's time to impress at interview. But what do you need to do ahead of the big day? Our guide will tell you everything you need to know...Fill in the form below to begin the download:To practise answering interview questions which may come up in your interview, download our printable preparation sheets.If you need further help in preparing for your interview, contact your Sanctuary consultant today.