Tell me a bit about your career to date
I’ve been qualified five years. I’ve worked in Brokerage in London, then in an adult social care team for another authority focused on adults with dementia before my partner and I relocated to the south west. I’ve now been with South Gloucestershire Council for just over a year.
What were your first impressions of South Gloucestershire Council?
When I’m looking for a job, I’m quite careful in researching which organisations will be the best fit for me. At interview I asked a lot of questions about what South Gloucestershire could offer me – the interviewers probably felt a bit like they were the ones being interviewed! Having worked at a couple of other authorities, a few things are really important to me; most importantly having approachable managers who I can learn from and working alongside colleagues who enjoy what they do.
I was really impressed with the managers I met at interview and was delighted when they called me back within a couple of hours to offer me a role. They also gave me really detailed feedback, which showed they had a genuine interest in me and my career.
And how does that compare to your experience today?
I think the fact that I’m agreeing to do this shows that I believe the council has delivered on the promises made in my interview!
What really comes across is how managers really understand your cases. Everyone from the team managers right up to the head of service are social workers themselves. They know our cases, they’re extremely approachable and recognise and celebrate good practice.
Equally, we know that they will go out of their way to ensure we get the support we need. When discussing cases with managers, our opinions are genuinely valued and we know that decisions are made in the best interests of the people we work with.
The training and career development opportunities are also excellent. Everyone knows local government finances are stretched, but the commitment to staff training and development really makes a difference for me. There’s a range of options, but I’m currently studying towards the Best Interest Assessor qualification. The authority paid for me to do the course and have given me time off to study.
There are a number of benefits on offer and I try to make the most of them! The flexi policy is great – it means I’m able to work from home twice a week, but also gives me plenty of time in the office to talk to colleagues and my manager about my cases. Also, being an early riser, I like the fact I can get into work without having to worry about traffic.
Other things I like – there are pool cars we can use to get to visits and we’ve got an employee discount scheme, which I take full advantage of to save money off things like my weekly shopping. However, most important, which I come back to again and again, it’s knowing that I’m valued by managers, senior managers and colleagues and that in my role I can really make a difference.