Social services exist to provide support that’s focused on improving the well-being of families, children, adults and carers. Social workers are fully qualified. They’re trained in giving support which can help people make changes and solve personal and social problems.
Here, we share stories from some of the amazing people working in social services across Wales.
Rosie, Social Worker
Rosie started her career in care as a volunteer, and now she’s a qualified Social Worker. “When I was volunteering, I mostly worked with children and adults with disabilities. I just worked on Saturdays at first to support parents and carers and give them a break for a couple of hours break,” Rosie recalls. “More than that though, it also supported the individuals and gave them the chance to build friendships with new people and helped them learn how to socialise with others.”
However, at the time when Rosie was volunteering, she was also working part-time for five evenings a week as she had two small children to support. “It was difficult, and I remember having to grab whatever overtime I could,” she explains. “After several months of working this way, I gave up my part-time job and decided to work on a casual basis within the care sector. I worked with children with disabilities and behavioural problems, and I loved it. It was privilege to support the children and their families at such a difficult time in their lives.”
Rosie progressed from here and worked full-time in short-break provision for 16 years. “During this time, I saw first-hand how difficult it is for families of a child with additional needs to get the support they need,” she remembers. “That was what made me want to become a social worker for children and young adults, so I could make a difference. I was fortunate to be seconded by the local authority to undertake the social work degree. I’m not a naturally academic person, so it was daunting at first, but I passed with a 2:1.”
Rosie has now been a qualified Social Worker for 11 years and has some advice for anyone considering a career in care. “I want to say to anyone who’s thinking about undertaking a degree in social work but struggles with their confidence – just go for it,” she says. “If you have the passion and the drive to help others, you will achieve it. The support you get is second to none – and no career is more rewarding than this”
Chloe, Social Worker
Before working in social care, Chloe had worked in a variety of settings including retail, hospitality and some factory work, but she was also a qualified childcare worker. It was this experience that made her want to become a social worker. “I loved working with children, but I wanted to do something more,” Chloe explains. “Prior to starting my social work degree, I worked in a school setting within a special educational needs’ unit, and this inspired me to want to become a social worker. I now work with teenagers aged between 11 and 18 to prevent placement breakdowns and to ensure children are given the support they need.”
Since finishing her degree and getting her first job in care, Chloe has gone from strength to strength and continued her training. “Over the past five years, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my knowledge with the Social Care Training Development Programme,” she says. “It’s meant that I’ve had access to a wide variety of trainings courses, all of which have provided me with invaluable experience and training which will serve me for the rest of my career.”
There are many elements of her job that Chloe loves, she tells us, “the best thing about my job is working with young people and their parents to help them achieve positive results. I also love having the chance to work with other professionals across the sector, as we all just want the best possible outcomes for the families we work with. Plus, working as a team means that you’re constantly supported, and you can pull together to face any challenges.”
Dylan, After-care Support Officer and Trainee Social Worker
Dylan is an After-care Support Officer and a trainee Social Worker.
In his role as an After-care Support Officer he provides support, guidance and co-ordinates services and care packages to promote the best outcomes for young people in care or leaving care…
Lauren and Claire, Social Workers
Lauren and Claire qualified as Social Workers at the same time, and they continue to work together. “We started our journey together, and it certainly wasn’t easy, but it’s definitely been worthwhile,” Lauren tells us.
“We both take pride in the fact that we’ve worked so hard, and I think that’s why we’re so supportive of each other, because it was really tough at times,” agrees Claire. “But we are also both extremely grateful for the third-year secondments that we have been awarded to complete our studies. Our hard work and determination seems to have paid off!”
Both Lauren and Claire now work in Team Around the Family together, and they are thoroughly enjoying their jobs. Lauren explains, “working in Team Around the Family (TAF) has not only given us the very privileged opportunity to support and improve the lives of the most vulnerable families in Neath, but it has also taught us the importance of early intervention and prevention and provided us with the foundations to move on into social work.”
Discussing why they’ve decided to share their story together, Lauren and Claire say it’s because they are a team. Jointly, they explain, “we came into this as part of a very special team and have supported each other throughout the entire journey, so for us, it’s simple… once a team, always a team.”
Linda, Intensive Intervention Team Manager
From providing care for older people to supporting children with disabilities, in her 26 year career, Linda has worked in many different roles. Now a Team Manager, she reflects on how her career first stared. “My interest in becoming a social worker was sparked whilst working with vulnerable children and young people in the children’s home,” Linda explains. “In that role, I worked alongside several dedicated and passionate social workers and I could see the significant impact they made on vulnerable children’s lives. I knew that I wanted to make that same impact.”
Naturally, Linda’s job is fast paced with no two days the same. “I love that every day is different,” she says. “I’m fortunate to have a great team of dedicated professionals, and I enjoy leading them through the day to day functions. Plus, the ethos of the children’s services division really resonates with me – I truly believe in striving for better for the children and the families with whom we work.”
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council supported Linda when she was working towards her diploma in social work, and that’s part of the reason she’s remained in the area. “It’s that sense of comradery – I love that,” she tells us. “As I’ve said, I work with a truly wonderful group of people, all of whom are dedicated and committed to their roles. And together, we’re able to make a difference to our community and really do seek to make a difference in the community in which we work. This is a profession in which everyone supports each other.”
Marc, Trainee Social Worker
Marc is a Learning Disabilities Team Well-being Officer and he’s also training to become a Social Worker. He assists individuals with learning disabilities to live their lives the way they want to by providing information, advice and support to individuals…
Jamie-Leigh, Social Worker
Jamie-Leigh works as a Social Worker helping adults in the community to remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible. “My day-to-day job means going out and visiting people, I’ll have a chat with them and find out what’s most important to them,” she explains. “I’ll then work with them to set personal goals – which we call outcomes – and then I’ll support them and help them to achieve those goals. It’s a really fulfilling role.”
As Jamie-Leigh works with adults of all ages, her job is very varied. “It’s not your regular 9-5, that’s for sure”, she laughs. “I support individuals as they transition into adulthood from children’s services, and I also help people with learning disabilities to access opportunities in the community. No two days are the same, but I guess the main aim of my role is to identify each individual’s personal needs and to ensure they have the support they need to reach their outcomes. Sometimes, this means working with other services such as care agencies, care homes and volunteer agencies too.”
Despite the diverse nature of her job, there’s a sense of community that ties it altogether. “There are so many great things about being a social worker, but the best part has to be the sense of community,” says Jamie-Leigh. “I love helping people to be as independent as possible and I enjoy supporting them as they achieve the things that matter most to them.”
Daisy, Trainee Social Worker
Here, Daisy talks about her career in care and how she’s being supported to study for her Social Work degree by Powys County Council…