Social workers support individuals and their families through difficult times and ensure that vulnerable people, including children and adults, are safeguarded from harm. Their role is to help improve outcomes in people’s lives.
They maintain professional relationships and act as guides and advocates. They sometimes need to use their professional judgment to make tough decisions that might not always be well received by those they are trying to help.
As a social worker, you’ll work in a variety of settings within a framework of relevant legislation and procedures, supporting individuals, families and groups within the community. You may work in homes or schools, hospitals or on the premises of other public sector and voluntary organisations.
Social workers tend to specialise in supporting either children and families, or vulnerable adults.
It can be a challenging role, occasionally receiving a lot of media attention, which can be negative when things go seriously wrong. As a result of this, the government is putting more measures in place to support and develop a strong workforce of social workers. Qualified social work professionals are sometimes supported by social work assistants. They also work closely with other professionals in health and social care.