What is social work and what does it entail?

Guest posts

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Education and Social Care
Course: BA (Hons) Social Work
Category: Social sciences and social care

14 January 2019

My name is Mary and I'm a Social Work student going into my second year here at ARU. Ask me to describe how I have found the experience so far in just one word and I would use 'phenomenal'.

Unsurprisingly, not long after starting this journey, I realised that it could possibly be the best decision I have ever made. One year on, I’ve yet to look back. Social work, to me, is protecting and fighting for those who need it the most; the power it has in making a difference for individuals, families and communities is where my passion and desire to give something back to others can be used.

OK, so you're thinking about a career in social work, have a very good reason as to why you want to be a social worker and are adamant about making a positive difference to people's lives. However, you're not entirely sure what's actually involved. If you're anything like me and need to know your head from your toes on a daily basis, I'm sure more of an insight into the different roles of a social worker, how placement works and the different areas of social work as a whole, would be helpful in confirming whether this is the right course for you.

As part of the qualification, all students are required to complete two practice placements. There's one in the second year of study, which is a 70-day placement, and another in your final year, which is a 100-day placement. These can be in a statutory, voluntary (eg, charity) or an independent sector agency. Examples could be working in social work teams for a local authority, residential care homes, housing associations, palliative care services, domestic violence organisations and student units.

During placement, capability will be assessed with accordance to the Professional Capability Framework (PCF). The PCF is framework of nine domains in social work that you use throughout your whole career journey and continuous professional development.

On a day-to-day basis most social workers are working with people. The work social workers do depends on the groups of people they serve. Some of the main areas include working with children, older adults, people with disabilities and learning difficulties, people with mental health difficulties, those struggling with substance misuse or addiction and patients with acute, or sometimes terminal, diagnosis.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.