Andy made the move from teaching to social work and now gains great satisfaction from helping families and watching them progress
How did you get your job?
After leaving university I was teaching science in a secondary school. I really enjoyed working with kids, however as a teacher I felt frustrated that I was unable to help the children in areas that I felt they most needed support, for example, in their home lives.
Many of the children I taught were studying for their GCSEs while dealing with challenges such as family breakdown, parental substance misuse or domestic violence.
I wanted to transition to a role where I could work with families in a one-on-one environment. I discovered and immediately knew this was the programme I was looking for so I applied straight away.
What's a typical day like as a social worker?
In the morning I could be chairing a meeting at a school and then I could go straight to a home visit with a vulnerable mother who is experiencing difficulties with mental health.
Following this it could be back to the office for lunch and to type up some notes before going to visit a family with a new baby to help support them in meeting their baby's needs.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Seeing a family make progress gives me an immense amount of satisfaction. One family I worked with had a teenage girl who stopped attending school, started going missing from home and became involved in criminal activity. It took a long time before I felt I was able to develop a connection with her, but by the time I had finished working with the family she was doing well on a college course.
Knowing how much she progressed gave me a real kick that will stay with me for a long time.
What are the challenges?
Accepting that there are some families who you may not be able to help is something that I constantly battle with. Unfortunately, there are some families who may not be in a position to change or who do not respond as well as you would like to the help you give.
It can also be hard when you feel a family has made progress but then a couple of months later you hear that a further incident has occurred, which results in the changes not being sustained.
In what way is your degree relevant?
My degree was in physics, so I don't really use any of the specific knowledge I learned. That being said I still use my degree every day in the shape of the transferable skills I gained.
What are your career ambitions?
I believe I will have the opportunity to progress and to assist other social workers and to contribute to a discussion about which tools should be included in the social work skillset, however I am content in getting better at using the skills I have learned so far.