https://lynromeo.blog.gov.uk/2017/04/13/return-to-social-work-and-revitalise-your-practice/

Return to social work and revitalise your practice

I was very pleased to be able to support the first national Come Back to Social Work programme which was led by the Local Government Association and funded by the Department of Health and the Department for Education.

I attended their final session a few weeks ago and was really impressed with the success of the programme and the impact it's had in bringing excellent people back into practice. I am delighted that one of the participants, Ahmed Abd-Elghany, has written this guest blog to share his positive experience. 

Ahmed: '[The programme] was about what‘s new, what's changed and the skills we can transfer from outside social work... building confidence, resilience and self-esteem.'
For the last few years I was looking hard to find a way back into social work. With the high demand and need for social workers I thought, with my experience, a few refresher courses would make it easy for someone like me to return. 

However, I was not sure where to start and the courses didn’t come cheap - this was a setback for me and I am sure for many others in my situation.

 

In fact, I came across many avenues and funded programmes targeting non qualified people with degrees in any other discipline but social work!

 

Although there were opportunities to train, these programmes totally ignored the already qualified individuals who had taken a break for one reason or another. It didn’t make sense. I thought: surely it’s cheaper to help those with the right qualifications come back to practice rather than start from scratch?

 

I didn’t stop trying but the answer was frequently “Sorry you are already qualified”, or “Can you go back on the register first?” That’s when I started drifting away from the profession.

 

When I saw Come Back to Social Work advertised, I thought thank goodness someone out there has read my mind.

 

Applying for the programme was an opportunity not to be missed. I was very privileged to be selected with 20 like-minded social workers to participate in 30 days training, lectures, coaching and mentoring sessions.

 

I must admit it was overwhelming to start with, but we got through it. It’s not like doing another social work degree, it’s more like a refresher course where you can reflect on your learning and practice.

 

It was about what‘s new, what's changed, and the skills we can transfer from outside social work to our practice - building confidence, resilience and self-esteem.

 

We were able to meet new people, including those whose names I had previously only read in books or seen on TV, senior social workers from different local authorities, even the Chief Social workers  (I gained lots of likes on Facebook!) and 20 social workers from different parts of the country who were the stars of the programme.

 

The programme helped me to think about creativity and innovation, utilising skills gained during my community development work with minority ethnic and faith communities.

 

Even though my experience and training were more linked to working with young people and families, changes in legislation and the shift towards working with communities made me think more about working with adults or generic social work and think more holistically about my  social work approach.

 

Since I was able to link with local communities, give talks about social work promoting a positive image about social workers and social services, some community leaders we were able to identify the need for social work positions in large community and faith institutions - in particular those deemed hard to reach by professionals and were willing to part fund a social work post.

 

I certainly learnt a lot, built my confidence, met like minded people, got back on the register with HCPC and have a clear vision about where I want to be and what I want to do.

About Ahmed

Ahmed is a qualified and registered social worker, specialising in building bridges between different ethnic and faith  communities with a focus on Arabic speaking communities. He has served in local government, housing associations and the non-profit sector.

The impact of his community recreation work was formally recognised with an invitation to 10 Downing Street.

4 comments

  1. Alcus Dunn

    I was very encouraged reading about the Come Back to Social Work Program. I have been a social worker for over 25 years primarily working with Children and Families. I retired in 2010 however in 2015 I decided to return to practice to do Social Work with Older People and vulnerable adults. I am now an HCPC registered Qualified Social Worker, and hope to attend Middlesex University to become a BIA assessor in May 2017.
    Though I was not a part of the Coming Back to Social Work program, I feel that this program is good for the Social Work profession.

    Link to this comment Reply
  2. Hayley Kelly

    I was one of the candidates of the Come Back to Social Work Programme. I left social work in 2014 due to personal circumstances and when I planned to return in 2016 I realised I had to complete 30 days of updating my skills and knowledge to continue my HCPC registration.
    When I started the Programme in September 2016 I had not much much confidence in myself and my abilities. During the programme which involved training workshops, reflective supervision, coaching and action learning I manage to built up my confidence to return to my social work practice. I was also made aware of the PCF(professional capabilities framework ) KSS( Knowledge and Skills Statement) for Adult and Children Social worker. We also looked at the HCPC standard of practice.
    I have managed to complete work shadowing in Adult Services but could not to get a post in Adult Services and are now looking to return back to Children Services where I have worked for more than 10 years.
    Currently I still find it difficult to get a post in Social Work as most Councils wants social workers with current experience.
    However , I am a persistent person and have learned to never give up.
    I am still in contact with my Come Back to Social Work Colleagues and together we inspire each other. During the programme it became evident that most of us have gone through our own challenges in life and manage to build up strength and resilience for others. Social work is not a easy job but worthwhile and we are needed ; children need us, vulnerable adults, older people, refugees, unaccompanied minors needs us etc.
    I am thankful for this opportunity to have been part of the CBTSW.

    Link to this comment Reply
  3. unni

    I am a registered social worker qualified from outside UK. I am looking to join as a qualified social worker but I don't have any experience in the UK. I would like to attend a refresher or bridge course to work as a qualified social worker in the UK. I don't know where I can start, could you please help me?

    Link to this comment Reply
    • Mark Osterloh

      Hello Unni - thank you for your enquiry. We suggest that you visit the Health and Care Professions Council website: http://www.hcpc-uk.co.uk/ to find out what is required of you to register as a social worker in England. We also advise getting in touch with your local authority and local university as they may be running refresher programmes for qualified social workers who wish to register.
      Best wishes, Mark - blog management for Lyn Romeo

      Link to this comment Reply

Leave a comment