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Why choose a higher national qualification in social and community work?

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With the rising economic inequality, a significant section of the world’s population is becoming homeless and vulnerable. Individuals who are efficiently trained in social and community work can contribute to promoting the wellbeing of society. Pursuing a higher national qualification in social work will help you develop practical skills in community service, as well as enhance your social work career prospects. Take a look at this article to learn about the different job sectors that provide graduates with opportunities to pursue a degree in social and community work.


Reasons to study social work

  • Social work courses give you an opportunity to serve people in need and teach you how to make a positive impact on your community. You will be able to enhance your listening ability and understand an individual’s need. For example, helping young children or adults struggling with addictions or cope with their anxiety.
  • As a graduate student in social work, engaging in field work for a certain number of hours is mandatory. This will help you gain the ability to:

o   Identify people who truly require help;

o   Assess the situation that they are currently in;

o   Develop plans to address those necessities.

  • An education programme in social and community work provides students with advanced training in the field of statistics, social welfare and policies, psychotherapy and research. This acts as an advantage if you want to:

o   Work at a school or in the healthcare and administration sector;

o   Get specialised in a particular area, such as counselling children at schools or working with patients battling an addiction;

o   Earn the certification of a licensed social worker to be able to start practising community service on your own.

  • Obtaining an advanced degree in social work will allow you to progress in your career, to achieve a higher-level position in your organisation with greater responsibilities. Additionally, you have the opportunity to earn certain credentials while being employed, for example, a clinical social worker in gerontology (CSW-G).


What subjects should I study to enter the social work field?

  • Law;
  • Politics and economics;
  • Psychology;
  • Sociology;
  • Health and social care;
  • Childhood and youth studies;
  • Criminology.


What more can you do with a social work degree?

After completing a social work course, students can undertake a variety of professional roles. Social workers need to be able to empathise with people and must possess communicating, problem-solving, teamwork and time management skills. With a degree in social work you can take up the following job roles:

  • Probation Officer (Average annual salary: £29,562) – A probation officer must be able to identify problems, communicate effectively (both verbally and in writing) and have the patience and ability to guide others. Also known as Community Supervision Officers, they typically work in state and federal government offices. Their common tasks and duties are as follows:

o   Assisting with the rehabilitation of offenders;

o   Supervising people sentenced to probation by the court;

o   Working closely with law enforcement and social service agencies;

o   Helping their clients receive education and training, counselling, job placement and housing facilities;

o   Preparing detailed reports for the court;

o   Providing appropriate information about the offender’s background for the judge to administer an appropriate sentence;

o   Conducting drug tests;

o   Monitoring clients’ whereabouts and interviewing their family, friends and employers;

o   Ensuring their clients successfully reintegrate with the community after a criminal investigation.

  • Social Service Director (Average annual salary: £38,426) – Besides a degree in social work, the Social Service Director must possess executive-level experience in public social services. They must have a basic knowledge of the following areas:

o   The operations of federal, state and local public welfare service programmes;

o   Supervision and personnel management theories;

o   The principles of public relations and funding, community needs and resources;

o   Current development in the field of social services and their impact on the organisation’s growth.

A Social Service Director implements direction goals and objectives of the Department of Social Services based on the decision passed by the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator. They serve as the Chief Operating Officer of the department and execute the following duties:

o   Planning and administering large-scale service programmes;

o   Analysing situations effectively and adopting effective courses of action;

o   Evaluating changes in the federal and state laws or regulations;

o   Formulating the annual budget and capital projects;

o   Overseeing grant application, preparation and negotiation;

o   Evaluating the performance of subordinate executives and managers and maintaining management development and training programmes;

o   Acting as the appointing authority for the In-Home Supportive Services Executive Director, the Adult and Aging Network Coordinator and the Workforce Executive Board Executive Director.

  • Residential Counsellor (Average annual salary: £44,975) – Their primary role is to provide therapy and support to clients residing at rehabilitation centres, care facilities, shelters and universities. The clients that a residential counsellor needs to deal with include the youth, individuals with mental or physical disabilities and elderly people who are no longer able to care for themselves. They are expected to have knowledge about resident safety, resident needs and community resources to perform the following tasks:

o   Designing and facilitating social programmes;

o   Overseeing troubled residents;

o   Evaluating patients in psychiatric facilities;

o   Intervening crisis;

o   Working for long, generally unpredictable, hours;

o   Being flexible and devoted to taking care of their clients at all times.

If you want to contribute to your community and help people in need, then you should go ahead and complete a Higher National Certificate or Diploma course in social and community service. To learn more about the health and social care sector, you must consider enrolling yourself in the HND Social and Community Work course offered by St Patrick’s.

This article was written by Deblina Dam.

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