Despite common misconceptions, more men are finding social care to be a fulfilling profession, with plenty of future prospects.
‘Putting social work on the map’
Another organisation that has seen surprising growth is Frontline, a graduate scheme for social workers who support vulnerable children and families. In 2014 it became the first ever social work employer to make it into the Times Top 100 list of graduate employers, and in 2015 it was ranked at 40, above Amazon, Facebook and Sky.
“I do think we are making some really good progress in putting social work on the map,” says Josh MacAlister, Frontline founder and chief executive, though he admits there’s some way to go. “Over two-thirds of people at university have still never considered a career in social work.”
One in four of the graduate scheme’s participants are men – a greater proportion than on traditional social work courses. Frontline ensures an absolute even split of men and women among those who front its campaign, and some of its insight days are targeted at groups that are under-represented on the scheme.
More rewarding than working in the City
Jordan, who grew up in Birmingham and now works for a south London borough, chose to apply for Frontline while many of his friends pursued more lucrative careers. “The desire to go out and make a difference to someone’s life was a lot more tangible for me, more rewarding than working in the City,” he says.
Jordan, 23, believes that different types of people, including men, should be involved in finding solutions to the complex, societal problems social workers face. He gives an example: fathers are often left behind when social workers are working to rehabilitate families. There’s a role for male social workers, therefore, in helping fathers get involved in their children’s lives – or in being there for kids growing up without a male role model.
He believes the social care sector is gaining respect. “I’ve had moments where I’ve been able to empower families, rather than tell families what to do, which goes against the wider perception of what social work is about,” says Jordan. By changing perceptions, albeit on a micro level, he feels like part of the force that’s pushing the profession in the right direction.
Applications are still open for our insight day on 20 July. Apply here.