Social workers help people with personal, social and environmental problems that cause emotional and social distress. The help may take the form of counselling, advice and information, and referrals to other services, resources or facilitating bodies.
Social workers can work in one of eight regionally based Health Boards as a ‘Community Care’ social worker; as a medical social worker by voluntary and health board-run hospitals; for local authorities as a housing welfare officer; as a probation and welfare officer in the Department of Justice. They could also work for voluntary agencies catering for specific interest groups or as welfare officers in industry.
As well as an empathetic nature, stamina and the ability to work in stressful situations, you will also need good teamwork and organisational skills.
Social workers should be:
- Mature, balanced and emotionally stable
- Able to empathise with others, often in stressful situations
- Clear thinking and able to view problems in a wide context
- Energetic, and posses stamina, as long hours may be involved.
Teamwork and organisation are essential. You will liaise with other caring personnel (doctors, public health nurses, home helps etc) to plan an integrated approach to care. You will also be in contact with voluntary agencies with vested interests in different areas of social work.
Related jobs such as community and youth work also need similar skills.
To become a registered social worker, you must have one of the CORU-approved professional qualifications in social work. A full list of qualifications recognised by CORU, the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, can be found here. The National Qualification in Social Work (NQSW) or the Certificate of Qualification in Social Work will still be accepted for existing practitioners.