Today is World Social Work Day 2020. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the great work of our social work colleagues across Bristol and around the world. We’re grateful to have so many dedicated and passionate people making people’s lives better, particularly during times like those we are facing, where the vital support our social workers provide for those most in need is even more critical.
Today’s guest blog comes from Nyasha, a recently qualified social worker at Bristol City Council.
I came into social work because I wanted to do more to protect and support the most vulnerable children in our society. I loved the idea that I could work with families to help them change the trajectory of their future by supporting parents to make certain changes or to understand the risk of harm to their children.
I previously worked as a family support worker but I always knew that I wanted to do more. I started my career in social work through the training programme, Step Up to Social Work. This was an amazing experience. The programme was busy and challenging at times, but it was worth it. I had two placements at Bristol Children’s Services both of which taught me a range of skills, which I use in my current role.
The beauty of social work is that there isn’t a typical day. Each day is different and brings its share of triumphs and challenges. Most of my time working in the safeguarding unit is spent supporting families. My working day can vary significantly and range from a child-in-need meeting, to making home visits or responding to new referrals. This is the nature of the job, we might have things planned in advance, but at times there are crisis situations that might need immediate action.
The best part of my job is the relationships I build with the children and young people I work with. They are the only ones who can tell you what their lived experiences are truly like. It’s important we listen and whenever possible I try to encourage children to be involved in meetings either by attending or telling me what they want to say.
As a newly qualified social worker, there are lot of things that I am still learning and having a team where there are other social workers with experience and knowledge means I am supported along the way. I always say, no one else knows what it is like to be a social worker unless they are a social worker too. At times it can feel as though you’re always in a race with time and there are not enough days in the week. We often have many competing demands due to the nature of the work. Having said that, the point we say goodbye to children and their families because we are no longer needed, makes it all worthwhile.
To anyone considering a career in social work, I would say do it! It has lots of challenges and can be very stressful at times, but it’s so rewarding. When we see children thriving and doing well within their families, we know we’ve done a good job. I would also recommend shadowing a social worker to get a better understanding for the job, as there are many misconceptions of the role. Next month I would have been a social worker for one year and I can honestly say that I love my job.