Social work is a challenging yet rewarding job that involves working with people to improve their lives. Here is information on social work as a career.

What is social work?

Social work is about:

  • assessing circumstances
  • providing support, advice and information to assist people to be as independent as possible, while protecting them from harm when necessary.

Emphasis is placed on ensuring that individuals, families and carers have opportunities to express their views and exercise their rights at a time when life is most challenging. 

Undertaking varied and interesting work, you will have the chance to be part of a team of committed professionals, often from other sectors, such as health, police, housing and education.

Social work and registration

Only people with a specific professional qualification can be called a social worker. To qualify in the UK, an undergraduate or Masters’ degree in social work is needed.

Social workers must apply to register with us and agree to abide by the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care Workers.

Social work is a people profession. However, being a good social worker takes more than having an interest in people. Helping people take control of their lives calls for a combination of knowledge and the right personal attributes and skills including being:

  • honest
  • flexible
  • resilient
  • an excellent communicator
  • mature, with sound values.

Social work needs to reflect the range and diversity of the community. Currently men, people from minority ethnic backgrounds and disabled people are under-represented in the profession. 

A wide range of opportunities exist for career progression and ongoing professional development, and good starting salaries are available for new graduates.