It was around this time last year that I first read about the Step Up to Social Work Programme in my local newspaper.
I had worked in a good range of different Health and Social Care roles and was fostering at the time, but wanted a professional qualification which would give me access to quality job roles and training. For me the value base of Social Work, the range of roles it could potentially lead to, and its recognition of the impact of the wider social context on people’s experiences of difficulty were hugely important in shaping my decision to pursue Social Work as a career.
I am now three months in to the Step Up to Social Work Programme. This programme is the result of collaboration between Somerset’s Local Authority, The University of the West of England and the Department for Education (although I have not yet met anyone from the DfE). Somerset County Council currently has a group of eight students on the programme and is the lead Local Authority for the South West Step Up Programme.
We are all now half way through our first placement and I have just had my ‘Interim Review’ which went well. It was a great opportunity to develop my understanding of some of the research and theoretical models I am using on placement with a view to being able to have a more critical approach to some of the ‘knowledge’ I am working from – I am looking forward to researching this further tonight.
My placement is with the getset Early Help service and the support I have been offered by the team and management has been fantastic, as has the range of work I have been able to get involved with. This includes assessments, direct work, chairing meetings, auditing case work and more. The major challenge is finding the time to write it all up as evidence. Some of the other placements have been in drug and alcohol support services; statutory teams; parenting assessment teams and fostering teams.
It has been a hugely intense first three months, and the programme has attracted students with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. I am hoping to continue writing on a monthly basis to give you snippets of what it is like as a Step Up Student.