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Starting a career as a social worker

Social work is a sector which spans a wide range of people and problems to be overcome, offering a great career path for people of all kinds. Social work can be very rewarding and has proven to be particularly resilient throughout the recession. For these reasons, it is fast becoming a popular choice for people across the UK.

Here, we take a look at the steps you ought to take with a view to becoming a social worker from leading HCL Social Care Jobs.

Who is suited to social work?

Social work attracts people of all kinds but there are a few qualities which all good social workers share. Most social work entails connecting with people on a personal level and taking steps to help them meet their goals and overcome their respective problems. The most essential qualities required are therefore compassion and problem solving abilities.

Those who succeed in providing quality social work should have a lot of empathy and be open-minded. Social work can bring together people from all walks of life and so people skills will be necessary at every step of the way to help you and others work through various problems to find the solution.

Are any qualifications required?

Whether or not you need a qualification will depend hugely on which area of social work you are keen to enter and at what level. Typically, applicants to the industry are expected to hold a degree in social work. Those who have already acquired a degree in a related area may well be able to enter a Master's qualification, rather than entering another Bachelor’s course.

If you already have a strong idea of the field within social work which you are looking to enter, it is possible to study for a degree which focuses heavily on that. There are, however, a great many degree courses which teach more generally about social work.

Applicants who are not keen to go down the university route may find an alternative. Certain employers offer entry level positions which do not require a degree but you can expect to spend a similar level of time in training before moving onto fully-fledged social work.

Work experience

Whether you're fresh out of university with a degree in social work and are looking for a way into the industry or are simply keen to dip your toes in the water with a view to taking a qualification in the future, work experience can be an extremely positive experience. 

The main two benefits of spending some time in social work jobs are based on experience. First of all you will have the chance to learn more specifically about the way that the world of social work functions. This can be a world away from university, where much of the work is based on theory.

An important part of any career involves understanding the way in which an industry works and this will be your opportunity to do just that. The second main benefit will make itself clear on your CV as proving you have experience in the field to employers is priceless.