Jason the Social Worker
I work for Children and Young People Services in the Care Leaver’s Team. I help young people who are leaving school and moving into college or employment. This can be a difficult transition for some young people and part of my job is to ensure they are fully aware of the options open to them and to help them choose the right option. I also help young people with accommodation needs ensuring that the accommodation is appropriate and meets their needs.
I began working with young people in 1994. I had a very challenging job in a residential school for boys aged between 12 and 16+. It provided an excellent but steep learning curve. After 18 months I decided I wanted to work for Social Services and joined the Intervention Services Care Bank. This is a bank of staff that provides cover for Devon County Council’s Residential Open and Secure Units for children and supervising contact visits.
I had worked at most of the local children’s homes when I was offered a permanent part time contract at the local secure unit in January 1997. This is a 16 bedded unit that is used as a national resource to provide secure accommodation for young people. I truly enjoyed working. Whilst there I noticed that Devon County Council were offering a bursary to attend University to gain a Degree in Social Work. I am proud to say I graduated from University in June 2007 with a 2:2 BSc (Hons) degree in Social Work. I have been in my current role as a Social Worker in the Care Leaver’s Team since September 2007. I very much enjoy my current job and always look forward to going to work in the morning!!
I have good and approachable management with whom I am able to discuss career progression. I am aiming to progress to Practice Manager within the next couple of years. Devon County Council is very good at providing continuing professional development. In addition to my degree I have NVQ3 in Working with Children and Young People and have done a lot of “in house” training.
The rewards definitely outweigh the challenges. One of the biggest rewards is knowing that you have helped a young person to reach their full potential. Whether that is seeing them reach University or seeing them excel in their chosen profession. One of the main challenges is offering a full range of support to a young person who refuses to engage.
My advice to anyone wanting to become a Social Worker is to gain some life experience first. Have an understanding of Social Work, perhaps by getting some work experience. When at University don’t give up - you can do it!!