As the pace of the world increases due to advances in globalisation and technology, it is inevitable the problems we face as individuals and as a society will continue to evolve and become more complex. Our world needs dedicated, passionate and career – orientated social workers to help us with these problems.
Becoming a social worker offers you the opportunity to enter many different career paths, from direct clinical practice to administration and advocacy roles in the government and non-profit organisations. Social workers are even found in many corporate settings where they craft corporate social responsibility programs and community engagement as well as help employees with workplace challenges.
The many different routes you can take in social work are explained below:
As a care worker you’ll support people with all aspects of their day to day living, including social and physical activities, personal care, mobility and meal times.
Rehabilitation workers support people to live independently, often following an illness or accident, and help them access support with housing, finance, social activities and life skills such as cooking or budgeting.
The role might include:
- Carrying out assessments within the community to identify what care and support people need
- Working with other professionals such as social workers and occupational therapists to make sure people get the right help
- Providing advice about how to use specialist equipment
- Teaching people daily life skills such as making a cup of tea, or reading braille
Advocacy workers support vulnerable people to make decisions and have their voice heard when decisions are being made about their lives. Securing people’s rights, such as accessing services and ensures that people are involved in their own care and support planning.
As an advocacy worker you might support people with decisions around housing, disability living allowance, care planning, medical decisions, financial planning and hospital admissions. For example you might provide advocacy for someone with a learning disability and support them to make decisions about getting carers in their own home or living in supported living.
Child welfare social workers serve some of the most vulnerable children, youths, and families. Social workers specialise in building on the strengths of families and helping them to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children and youths. However, when families are unable to do this, social workers must intervene to protect the children from harm. Child welfare social workers ensure that children and youths who have experienced abuse or neglect are supported through a range of services.
Mental Health and Clinical Social Work
Clinical social workers are one of the nation’s largest groups of providers of mental health services. They provide mental health services in both urban and rural settings, where they may be the only licensed provider of mental health services available. Mental health social workers empower individuals with mental illness—and their families, carers, and communities—to lead fulfilling, independent lives. Through therapy, support, and advocacy, they enable people to manage the social factors in their lives—like relationships, housing, and employment—that allow them to get well and stay well. Building resilience in individuals, their networks, and their communities transforms people’s well-being and improves our society and economy.
Duties may include:
- Helping clients determine their eligibility for additional support services.
- Provide crisis management intervention.
- Develop and implement treatment and discharge plans.
- Write grants.
- Assist clients in securing and maintaining safe housing and employment.
- Help clients stay on treatment plans by arranging necessary services such as child care and transportation.