On Friday 27th April, the School of Health and Society hosted the Greater Manchester Social Work Academy (GMSWA) Teaching Partnership Careers Fair at MediaCityUK.
The fair saw around 200 final year Social Work students from across Greater Manchester from the University of Salford, Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University visit our campus to find out more about social work opportunities available from a range of employers including the ten Greater Manchester local authorities and private and voluntary sector agencies who together form the Greater Manchester Social Work Academy and many Social Care agencies and local charities.
The students were also able to take part in a selection of workshops hosted by employers and careers’ service colleagues, where they picked up practical advice on getting through the application process and useful interview techniques.
Three newly qualified social workers Shareen, Kate, Winnie and Calum, all Salford graduates, hosted a panel discussion sharing their top tips for success and answering questions from students about their jobs.
Shareen Denman, who graduated last year and is now working with Wigan Council with children and young people at risk of significant harm said she was keen to join the panel to emphasise the importance of researching the difference councils before applying for jobs. “I hadn’t realised how important the Wigan Deal was, for example – each authority has its own culture and their own unique strategic priorities”;
2016 graduate Winnie Ebockayuk now works in Birmingham for the Council. She said: “I feel it is my calling to come back to help on the panel. I have such fondness for Salford University because of the support everyone gave me while I was here and I hope that sharing my experiences will help other students achieve their goals.”
Calum Wiggle wanted to reassure students who hadn’t got placements with local authorities that it was still possible to be successful and secure a permanent job with one. He had spent his placement with the Prince’s Trust and with a homeless charity and admitted it was a little harder to then get the job he had now with Manchester Council Court Team, but quite achievable if you just tried a little harder.
One of the exhibitors Helen Delamere, Head of Rochdale Council’s Child Protection Service said:
“The Teaching Learning Partnership is committed to offering a certain percentage of student placements, so we’re here today showcasing what Rochdale can offer and letting students know about opportunities available and our interview assessment dates.“
Orlaith Kelly, Social Worker from Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust added: “We are here to spread the word about the benefits of working at Salford Royal. There are so many opportunities arising from the integration of Health and Social Care so it is a good time to be in social work. We are also telling students about the ASYE (assessed and supported year in employment), where we mentor new recruits to ensure they continuously develop in their roles and gain confidence and experience.”
Gabi Hesk, Lecturer in Social Work who led the organisation of the event, was thrilled with the turn out.
She said: “This event has its roots in the early careers fairs we used to hold in a corridor in the Allerton Building, which were always successful with students and agencies. We felt then that there was a need for a special social work careers fair to highlight jobs and placements and were delighted when The Social Work Practice Learning and Admissions Team at Salford were approached by the Greater Manchester Social Work Academy to host this fair. I would like to thank the technicians and staff for helping us make full use of the digital technology for our Twitter wall and offering to recreate the GMSWA Logo for example and generally making the event run smoothly. Thanks also go to colleagues in alumni and from the careers teams in all three universities who have all contributed to the success of the fair. It’s been lovely working in partnership with the other two Greater Manchester universities and collaborating with our Practice Learning colleagues, Pauline Black from Manchester Metropolitan University and Claire Harnett from Manchester University. We’re sure they will have been impressed with what Salford has to offer and hope this isn’t the last time we collaborate.”
The GMSWA got some great feedback about their Careers Fair:
“The panel was very helpful as you get to hear first-hand newly qualified experiences that you can relate to as you are about to qualify”,
“The workshops were really helpful as they provided us with examples of how to complete application forms”
“I have gained knowledge which can build confidence. A day worth it.”
“I would say help with the interviews and meeting with Newly Qualified Social Workers was helpful. I have got an idea now when I should apply, what questions I will be asked and how I can prepare myself”
“I am now very confident in job searching”
“I now realise the benefits of doing more research in agencies’ values and then incorporating this into the interview”
“The employers on the stands and in the workshop used PCF language maybe without realising it – it seemed a part of their normal language which was great to hear”
“It was great to gain experience of interviewing skills”