A very warm welcome to all new students beginning their social work journey this month.
I can still remember the first week of my social work degree at university. If you want to find out when that was, here’s a clue: Elton John was top of the pops with Benny and the Jets from his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album!
You have chosen a profession which is highly challenging but also very rewarding, where every day you have the opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of individuals and families.
It is a privilege to work alongside people facing the most complex and challenging times in their lives, people who look to us to provide understanding, guidance and support. Rarely are two days the same, but at the heart of good social work lies the constant focus on relational practice with people who need our help the most.
Just as people and societies change, so too does our profession, developing and evolving to meet new and sometimes unexpected challenges. Our innovative and creative practices are needed now more than ever.
Our work is as varied as it is unpredictable. We balance complexity and appropriate risk with promotion of a person’s independence and human rights. In so doing, we guard against social injustice and use our knowledge, skills and inherent empathy to make credible and defensible judgements on behalf of those we are tasked to serve - this encapsulates the vital role that social workers play.
As professionals, often liaising with counterparts in other health and care services, we must take responsibility and accountability for the quality of our practice. So, while this course provides a great opportunity to develop curiosity, it also highlights the importance of research and our duty to contribute to the growing evidence base for our work.
The social work programme will be a personal journey for you and will change the way you see and understand people and society - make the most of it and take time to enjoy yourself.
Find out more about my own social work journey – and why I remain committed to and inspired by this amazing profession - in this recent interview with Community Care.
And why not join the conversation with other new students on twitter #swfreshers2016