Social Worker
Hillingdon Council

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My name is Kelly.

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I’m a social worker who works for the London borough of Hillingdon,

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which is a West London borough.

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To be a social worker, it’s a professional career

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whereby you are an agent for change,

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so you support people to essentially solve their problems.

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But there’s also

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a part of the job whereby you safeguard vulnerable people in the community.

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My role is in children’s services and therefore I work

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with young people from the ages of 11 to 18.

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And the young people that I work with are experiencing harm in the community.

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So my job can look like supporting young people at police stations,

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supporting them in court, doing some direct work with them,

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enabling them to keep themselves safer and working on aspirations and goals

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and helping them onto a career path, which ultimately is a protective

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factor for young people.

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One of the main things is empathy.

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It’s a big component of the job.

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You need to empathise and understand other people and be able

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to put yourself in their shoes in order to work effectively with them.

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I did do my GCSEs and I got the grades

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that I needed in maths, English, science.

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I did go to college but college didn’t work out for me.

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And so I went into employment

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and then later on in my career I decided I wanted to be a social worker.

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So I was able to do my degree through the Open University,

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which allows you to do your degree, provided

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you have the maths and English qualification as a GCSE.

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Most social workers do typically do A-levels

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and go into university to study social work straight away.

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But college and schooling doesn’t always work out how people plan

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so there are other routes into the profession.

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My first job was actually at Burger King.

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I loved that job. It was it was a great job.

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I liked listening to the music and serving customers. And I guess

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people might view Burger King as a not very good job

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but it’s really good in terms of enhancing social skills

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and just having that routine and work ethic.

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And then from Burger King, I actually went on to do an NVQ

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in administration and I feel the benefit of doing that was

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I enhanced my English writing skills, which is really important in social work.

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And I went on from working in administration in an education setting

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and then I went on to do my social work degree after being a family support worker.

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I personally had experience of having a social worker as well,

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so I felt like that was something that was really beneficial to take to the role.

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So my lived experiences and building up my work skills made me take that plunge.

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My experiences of social workers as a young person was that it was a mixed bag.

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The good social workers were really, really helpful.

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They knew how to support me and direct me to make small changes in my life

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which has ultimately ended up with me having a successful career.

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So that’s one of the reasons I feel like social work’s important.

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The interesting thing about social work is that your personality is a strength.

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The difficulties that you’ve overcome in life are a strength

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and the use of self is so important.

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And I feel like I would tell young people, believe in yourself.

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And even if you

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can’t take a straightforward route to it, if it’s something that you wanted to do,

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there’s other ways of being able to achieve your goals, and so to go for it.


“The interesting thing about social work is that your personality is a strength.”

College didn’t work out for Kelly. After a range of jobs – and inspired by her experience of being in care – she studied to become a social worker with the Open University.

More information about Social workers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

19%  male 
81%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Social workers provide information, advice and support to those who are socially excluded or are experiencing crisis; they protect the welfare of vulnerable groups including children, young people, people with disabilities, elderly people and people who are mentally or physically ill, and they may specialise in specific areas of work.
Social work is a regulated profession and practitioners must be registered with the appropriate statutory body. To register a social worker must satisfy the criteria for registration. Non-graduates must undertake a three-year degree in social work; graduates with relevant experience may take a two-year postgraduate diploma/Masters degree. Prior relevant work experience or relevant voluntary work is encouraged. Background checks including a CRB check are required.
  • Liaises with other health and social care professionals and agencies to identify those in need and at risk within the local community;
  • Interviews individuals and groups to assess and review the nature and extent of difficulties;
  • Undertakes and writes up assessments to specified standards;
  • Arranges for further counselling or assistance in the form of financial or material help;
  • Organises support and develops care plans to address service users’ needs;
  • Keeps case records, prepares reports and participates in team meetings;
  • Gives evidence in court;
  • Participates in training and supervision.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Health 51409
Social work 30077
Residential care 26264
Public admin. & defence 7664
Employment activities 4600
Education 1057
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