A social worker role is to provide a range of services such as support, care, protection, advocacy and it also includes administration tasks. They must adhere to the Northern Ireland Social Care Council standards of conduct and practice when providing services. A social worker works with individuals, families, and communities of all ages, race, and background. Service users may be experiencing difficulties in their lives due to addictions, physical or learning disabilities, mental ill health, abuse or bereavement. To support service users and meet their needs, a social worker carries out an assessment, planning, implementation, and review. Their aim is to promote empowerment, enabling a service user to achieve independence and reduce their dependency on services. Providing support and protection to a victim of domestic violence is a more specific example of a social workers’ role. In these situations, the social worker helps the victim and family including children cope with the personal and social problems. The social worker takes a holistic approach to respond effectively, arranges discussions about goals, carries out risk assessments, examines the impact of domestic violence on the mother’s mental health and parenting skills and organizes packages of support in partnership with other professionals. Service user and their family are linked with support such as Women’s Aid.
Social work training involves a satisfactory ACCESS NI check. A student will complete a three-year degree programme and one assessed year in employment before being eligible for registration as a social worker with the NISCC. The degree consists of a module based study and some of the units include law for social workers, social policy, psychology, and sociology. Two practice placements will need to be undertaken in Year 2 and Year 3 of study. These will provide students with opportunities to apply theories and knowledge gained in a classroom to real-life scenarios. When pre-registration year in employment is successfully completed social workers must register annually with the NISCC to maintain their registration. It is a requirement of a NISCC for all social workers to comply with strict standards of conduct and practice. From a degree in social work, I am expecting to gain skills, values, and knowledge needed for safe and effective practice with service users. For example, enhanced communication and analytical skills, ability to distribute resources on a limited budget, resilience, advocacy and skills for prioritising. I am looking forward to gaining a knowledge of legislation and policies affecting social work practice and to studying social work theories.
A desire to pursue a career in social work came naturally for me. While growing up I was able to gain an insight into family and child social work activities with the help of my aunt who worked in children’s orphanage. I witnessed suffering and this experience created a genuine desire for me to help and make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people.Furthermore, I had relationship problems with my partner and these problems had a negative impact on our young son. A social worker offered a listening ear to us and recommended relationship counselling through Relate NI. This invaluable support enabled me and my family to cope with difficulties and gave me an incredible insight into some of the issues that service users may face in their lives. I am hoping to be successful in my application in order to be able to help empower individuals and families to tackle problems and support service users to the best of my ability.