After appropriate induction and training, there are many different specialism options within social work open to you. Specialist roles include homelessness officer, day care social worker, education welfare officer, health care social worker and mental health social worker.
Career development may involve a change of role within a specialism, e.g. from child protection to fostering and adoption. It is also possible to transfer from one specialism to another, e.g. from working with children to working with the elderly.
Social work is a profession where promotion is likely to take you away from hands-on work. Three to five years after qualification, it is possible to become a senior practitioner, team or care manager. In this role, you would have responsibility for managing other social workers (resulting in a reduction in direct service user contact) and an increasing involvement in managerial, financial and political issues.
With a practice teaching award, you could become involved in the supervision and management of social work students and less experienced staff.
In England, the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are responsible for regulating, auditing and reviewing social care providers. They may also offer opportunities for career development. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, it's the:
Another option is to move from one sector to another (statutory, voluntary and independent). You could also consider training and lecturing roles or opportunities for project work and secondments.
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