What is Social Work?
“Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.” (International Federation of Social Workers 2014)
Why become a Social Worker?
Many people go into social work because they want to ‘make a difference’. They want to work with people and empower them to improve their lives. Social work can be emotionally demanding and it is important that anyone interested in becoming a social worker understands that. Dealing with other people’s pain and suffering is difficult. Social workers need to be resilient and know how to get support themselves and use that support effectively.
Skills required to become a Social Worker
Social workers play a crucial role in highlighting and addressing issues relating to discrimination and inequality in society and are required to have a broad, generalist skill-base to equip them to work effectively with the complex, multi-faceted demands of the job. The Social Workers Registration Board at CORU require that social work students are assessed across six domains:
Empathy and interpersonal skills top the list of essential traits for the profession. The ability to find resources — and often to think outside the box when doing so — is also an essential attribute. In addition, social workers must possess excellent organizational skills, excellent time-management skills and the ability to navigate through often technical, and sometimes discouraging, sets of regulations and paperwork. They may be responsible for managing work with multiple clients or projects and ar required to maintain detailed records. Social workers must also have discretion and a good understanding and application of ethical standards.
Social Work Salaries
The salaries are usually advertised alongside the post but it is worth checking with employers, who can also advise you on any benefits such as pensions and paid annual leave, etc. Salaries range between settings, sectors and areas. It is useful to look at the HSE website as a guideline Consolidated Payscales 1st October 2020
To use the protected title of social worker and to practice as a social worker in Ireland, you must first register with CORU, the body responsible for regulating health and social care professionals under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005. It is a criminal offence to use the title social worker without having registered with CORU.