Mar 18

Making a difference on World Social Work Day

Posted: 21 March 2018


Our CEO Sharon Allen talks about her pride in being a social worker at a World Social Work Day event in Hertfordshire.

The day I qualified as a social worker is a day I can remember like it was yesterday and the pride I felt then is just as powerful today.

I was delighted I could share that pride with a group of social workers in Hertfordshire who had invited me to speak at their event celebrating World Social Work Day. What better way to reflect on all we have achieved as social workers in this country and across the world.

My social work training, and my subsequent practice, informs everything I do to this day because it fits with my passion for social justice and equality.

I reminded the event that according to the International Federation of Social Workers there are 3 million of us worldwide. They may have different names country by country, and do different things, but that army of social workers changes lives across the globe.

Social workers might be making a difference in their community by using a strengths and community based model of service delivery, which requires their particular skill set at the heart of that approach.

It might be advocating for a young person leaving care or in the adult sector building a relationship with someone who has mental health issues so they can engage the help they need.

Or it might be the social worker who put together a package for a colleague’s seriously ill dad which meant he could leave hospital to be supported by highly trained care workers so he could die at home as he wanted.

Every social worker in that room in Hertfordshire has their own success stories where they have supported people to change their lives because of their training and experience.

I was clear we need to change the all too often negative stories around social work so we can focus on the great work we do, and where mistakes are made we need to learn from them.

I also took the opportunity to reflect on the work Skills for Care is doing to help the profession.

One of things I am most proud of is our Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme which this year is working with 169 employers to offer specific support for 1260 Newly Qualified Social Workers.

I can still remember breaking out in a cold sweat when the first cases started to pile up on my desk so I’d have loved an ASYE programme as the ‘in at the deep end’ approach wasn’t a good way to get up to speed on the frontline.

We’ve been working with the Chief Social Worker for Adults Lyn Romeo on the Department of Health and Social Care consultation on a knowledge and skills statement for practice supervisors in adult social work.

And we’ve been supporting employers in the trailblazer group to create a fit for purpose social work apprenticeship which will come on stream early next year.

All this work is designed to make sure that social work moves with the times as it has always done and to make sure the profession is relevant to the needs of the communities they serve.

Thanks to Hertfordshire’s Principal Social Worker Mark Harvey and Head of Social Work Tanya Moore for their invitation as it was a privilege to speak at this event. Even more so it was a chance to meet committed, highly professional social workers who day in and day out make a difference to their county and the people who live there.

Skills for Care provides a range of information, tools and guidance to help employers create an effective workforce of social workers for adult services, including the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE). The ASYE is a 12 month programme for assessing and supporting newly qualified social workers during their first year in employment.