The social care industry remains a controversial subject matter, due to the hotbed of stories and myths that have circulated over the years. Sadly, many are still failing to recognise the fantastic work that social workers do for the most vulnerable in our society. They help people on a day to day basis, displaying great empathy and strength in the face of some difficult situations, and deserve the right sort of recognition. Here are some of the most common misconceptions dispelled:
1. Social workers are unskilled
This couldn't be further from the truth. Working in the social care industry is highly challenging, so having the correct knowledge is vital for ensuring the protection of those in the workers' care. According to the National Careers Service, you need to study for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in social work that has been approved by the Health and Care Professionals Council, in order to become a fully qualified social worker. This demonstrates how dedicated workers in this field are to improving the lives of the vulnerable.
Nevertheless, paper qualifications are just the start. Social workers are incredibly skilled in listening to and recognising the needs of others, while respecting people from all different backgrounds, so that they can carry out the best care possible. Valuable skills such as these should not be taken for granted.
2. Social workers don't earn much
A common misconception of social care jobs is that they are voluntary or very low paid. On the contrary, newly qualified social workers can start off on £19,500 or above, a highly competitive starter salary for any industry. According to Prospects, those working for the NHS earn between £25,000 and £34,000 a year, showing there is a lot of opportunity to progress.
3. Social care work is 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Another myth is that social workers have to be available constantly, and don't get any time to themselves. The truth is that most social care jobs usually involve working 40 hours a week, like many other full-time professions. Depending on the work, some positions can be a lot more flexible than the average 9-5 office job, and a lot more rewarding too.
4. Social workers are interfering busy bodies who take children away from their families
Social workers have sometimes been cast in a bad light, either through questionable media portrayal or negative press. They have been made to appear as if they create problems where there aren't any, particularly where children are concerned. This couldn't be more wrong; social workers actually try to keep families together, providing protection for those children who need it most, while working with families to resolve any issues so children can be brought up in stable, happy homes. Social worker and member of the College of Social Work Amy Norris says that actually, the difficulty is trying to ensure children remain with their families, saying, "it's also the law.". Many children have a better quality of life because of the dedication social workers have shown them.
Often underestimated, social care work is highly complex, with workers helping those who need it most to find solutions to their issues. It is a highly rewarding profession, where they make a real difference to the lives of others.