When did you first join the council?
I’ve been with the council for 10 years; starting off as an admin assistant, before switching to a development worker role and then moving through the social work ranks from social work assistant to my position now as a qualified social worker.
How has the council helped you progress your career?
The council has been really good to me. They obviously saw potential in me and supported me through my social work qualification. Beyond this, the support and training and development offer at South Gloucestershire Council is exceptional. We get regular peer to peer supervision, and have plenty of opportunities to discuss our cases. Even when my manager isn’t around, I know I can speak to other managers and senior social workers – everyone is very approachable and accommodating even if they don’t supervise you.
There’ve been lots of opportunities offered me through the ASYE programme. We’re encouraged to create training pathways based around our interests and specialisms, so I can see where my career is heading. I’m involved with the Direct Payment Training programme and also part of a course for people who care for people with Dementia, which is helping me develop within community social work.
Less formally, it’s fantastic to know that we’re trusted in our work. I’ve got young twins, who are quite a handful! but I know with the flexi-scheme, I can work hours to suit my family life and there’s never a question asked if I need to get home at short notice.
Other than the support and training and development, what do you think South Gloucestershire Council has to offer for social workers?
There’s a consistency of management which is really important – I’ve been managed by the same person for five years and all of the management team are vastly experienced.
It’s an office environment which encourages teamwork. We’re based close to the finance and legal teams we work with, and there are lots of comfortable areas within the office to get together as a team for lunch or for coffee to talk through our work. We do have a hot-desk set-up, but I’ve never had issues finding a desk.
Most important for me though is that I’m empowered to do what is best for the people I work with. We adopt a strengths-based approach; I’ll assess what my clients need and I know that if I can justify why a specific piece of kit or a certain course of action is the best for that person – even if it is more expensive – my recommendation will be supported. When I go to work in the morning, I know that I am making a real, long-term difference and I’m not being asked to cover over issues with a sticking plaster.