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Career opportunities in social work

There is a variety of jobs available for graduates in social work.

Health Board social workers

You could work in one of eight regionally based Health Boards as a ‘Community Care’ social worker for concerns such as psychiatric illness, financial and environmental difficulties, alcohol and drug-related problems, interpersonal difficulties and child abuse. All cases dealt with by Health Board social workers include a child/family dimension.

Medical social workers

You could be employed as a medical social worker by voluntary and health-board-run hospitals. You will offer direct help where medical conditions are complicated by social and emotional factors. Psychiatric social workers work with patients in psychiatric hospitals and with out-patients as well as in a preventative role.

Working for local authorities

You could also work for local authorities as a housing welfare officer (social worker), offering social services to tenants, prospective tenants and/or travellers. This involves liaising with housing and government departments.

Working for the Department of Justice

As a probation and welfare officer in the Department of Justice, you may work with the Adoption Board, the courts, or prisons and places of detention. This involves making recommendations to the appropriate authorities.

Working for voluntary agencies

Voluntary agencies catering for specific interest groups also employ social workers. These include charities, special schools (run by religious groups or parents) and treatment centres.

Working in industry

Social workers in industry (‘welfare workers’) are concerned with employees and pensioners of an organisation, eg the Army. The work can range from family problems to work with pensioners and the elderly.