Each year, Frontline runs diversity insight days to give students and graduates from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to find out more about a career in social work and meet those currently in practice.
Read on to hear from Sharon Scott, a team manager in Ealing, who tells us about her experiences as a social worker and discusses her involvement with the diversity insight day.
How long have you been a social worker and where have you worked?
I qualified in 2002. I have been a social worker for 13 years and a team manager for six of those years. I’ve worked in a number of London boroughs including Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Ealing Council.
What inspired you to become a social worker?
I wanted to be a part of a profession where I could advocate on a child’s behalf and make decisions for them if the care they were being afforded was less than adequate. In 1998 I had the opportunity to shadow a friend who was a social worker and had the chance to engage with a particular young person. It was from then I knew that this was the job I wanted to do.
What are the best things about your job as a social worker?
For me, the best thing about being a social worker is meeting a family and supporting them to make positive changes. I have also learnt so much from the children and families that I have worked with over the years. I have been able to build trusting relationships with the families that I work with. In addition I love sharing my knowledge and experience with others and finding creative ways to engage with families using various models of intervention.
What inspired you to support Frontline’s insight day?
The Frontline programme gives participants the opportunity to be in an environment that fully equips them to practice as a qualified social worker. The insight day builds upon this work at an earlier stage and I hope will provide a forum for potential participants to discuss and learn about the opportunities available to them. It’s important for me to be part of days like this and hope to assist by answering questions and sharing my experience.
What’s the key piece of advice you’d give to someone considering a career in social work?
Find as many opportunities to listen to other people’s experience as a social worker. If this job is for you, you will be hooked straight away and you won’t need convincing. Social work is changing; it’s a good time to join the profession.
As a social worker you need to have a good understanding about yourself, be clear about your values and beliefs and what might get in the way of you working with families. Communication and relationship building skills are crucial. It’s important that you have the ability to digest what is being said, reflect and analyse the information in order to formulate strong concise plans that will provide positive steps. It’s important that you have a good understanding of what being a team player means and how you engage with a team. Social work is not a job you can do in isolation.
Why do think ambitious graduates should choose this career over the many options out there?
Social work can be very rewarding. Social work allows you to be a part of change, to help develop individuals and improve outcomes for families. If you enjoy working with people and want to have the opportunity to engage with a number of different disciplines, social work allows for this. Within a short space of time you can learn so much. For example you can develop knowledge and skills in training others, supporting families who are experiencing difficulties and you can build skills on undertaking direct work with children and young people.”
Find out more about our insight days here.