Picture the scene: you decided early on that a career in social work was what you wanted and needed to pursue. Eventually, you see yourself doing research and contributing to policy decisions that’ll affect people right across the country (hopefully for the better!).
You have plenty of different routes into the social work field, from undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, through to conversion courses if you have a degree or lots of experience in a related area, and on the job training that gets you into the field as soon as possible. With your research aspirations, you opt to do a full three undergraduate degree, as this gives you a good grounding in academic work as well as the practical aspects of social work.
As part of your studies, and in your spare time in holidays you’ve been pursuing work experience, placements and internships so you can demonstrate to employers you’ve actually put your education into practice, and you’re capable of doing what a social worker needs to do, but now you’re in the position of needing to find and apply for social work jobs for the first time. Navigating this minefield is an entirely different skill to the social work training you’ve been through.
Fortunately, social workers are very much in demand and there are plenty of agencies who specialise in connecting social workers with the vacancies that need them. Pairing up with an agency like Sanctuary Social Care extends your reach and connections further than you can manage as a single person to help you find the jobs that suit you the best.
Once you’ve formed a relationship with a social work agency, you can make some more decisions, about the type and location of the social work you want to do, and also the sort of contract you’ll be bound by. Often your location is dictated for you by other factors, and the type of social work (be it with children, the elderly, those at risk of criminal conviction and so on) you pursue is something you’ll have settled on in the course of your studies.
What is up for debate is your contract type. You could look for a long term job, but social work is a flexible sector and there lots of opportunities for temporary or cover work that can be as lucrative as a permanent job (if not more so, depending on the demand). This allows you to get a lot of experience very quickly, and could fuel your progress up the ranks a little quicker to get you to your career end goal!