Once you have started on the path to a career in social work, your studying days are not over, however. Every local authority and the General Social Care Council, plus its equivalent bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, insist that social workers continue their training by regularly attending conferences and seminars. Sometimes these events will introduce new topics or research findings and on other occasions, it might just be going over old ground in an area that the social worker has not dealt with for a long time. After all, a social worker that has spent ten years working with children and then decides to switch to working with the elderly might have forgotten all the important information and advice they picked up at university, unless they attended regular ongoing training.
As part of your registration with the General Social Care Council, all qualified social workers are required to take 15 days of training every three years. At the moment, the decision about what kind of training this involves is taken jointly by the social worker and their boss. Continued development in the workplace is also a good idea if you want to make a career out of social work, perhaps take on a more senior or even a management position. Maybe you would like to go into training yourself, in which case keeping up to date with the latest research and techniques is essential. As well as attending the required training courses, may social workers keep abreast of news in their industry by reading magazines such as Community Care or The New Social Worker which both feature articles written by experts on the new developments in the profession.
Social work career path
From your initial role as a probationary social worker, it is possible to progress up the career path relatively quickly. This may seem like a frightening prospect; taking on more responsibility when you have only just graduated, but there are always more senior social workers in your department who can support you and help answer any questions. Social workers may choose to go into management. This would mean that they no longer deal with their own cases, but manage the workload of the office and supervise the activities of the social workers under them. This might not be for you, if your reason for getting involved in the profession was to get your hands dirty helping people! There are senior social workers in every department and those who act as mentors to new graduates, all of which requires patience and understanding, as social work can be a very demanding career to someone just starting out.