Case study

Social worker — Glenroy Anicke

Glenroy studied for a BA in Social Work at the University of East London (UEL). He now works as a newly qualified social worker in Camden, London

Why did you decide to become a social worker?

Since leaving school I have worked with children, young people and their families in a range of settings, including a nursery, youth club, children's home and 16+ accommodation.

I wanted to work in a different capacity where there are new challenges and it was also important to have better-paid career prospects. I have a degree that offers a solid foundation, with excellent transferrable skills that provide me with the knowledge and skills needed to support children and their families.

How did you get your job?

I applied for an assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) position in the local authority where I completed my 100-day-placement. This required interview preparation and knowledge of the practice that I had gained on my placements and the degree.

What's a typical working day like for you?

A typical day involves multi-agency meetings, responding to emails from professionals working with families that I am working with, and going on home and school visits. I also have to record all of this information.

Describe your job in three words.

  • contain
  • support
  • challenge.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy working in a supportive team, as well as doing direct work with children and getting to know their wishes and feelings. Every time I meet a child on the job I ask myself 'how do they perceive the world around them?'

What are the challenges?

Challenging families and professionals to ensure a child's best interests remains integral to achieving the best outcomes for children.

Also, prioritising the tasks that need to be completed within timescales.

What type of person would suit a career in social work?

Someone calm, someone who works well under pressure but is confident in their approach to people. It is important to be curious and think both broadly and deeply. Social work would also be well suited to someone who is good at analysing things.

What are your career ambitions?

Currently, I'd like to get into the education aspect of social work, as well as undertake more therapeutic training to support my working families.

Can you debunk a myth about social work careers?

Social workers do not take children away from families. They compile evidence and write reports, but it is a family court judge who decides where and with whom a child at risk should live. 

Are you a member of a professional body? If so, what are the benefits of this?

I am registered with Social Work England, you cannot practice as a social worker if you are not registered. I’m with a union too.

There's also the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) that offers lots of guidance and extra help and resources. They also have specific student support groups, for a very reasonable rate.

Can you identify two issues currently affecting social work?

  • Social workers do not advocate for themselves enough.
  • Consecutive governments do not offer enough funding for the work that is needed for effective social work interventions.

How would you sum up social work?

Social work offers you the opportunity to know so much more about yourself. It is challenging, however, your qualifications, the work that is done with families and your career prospects are incredibly rewarding.

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