More than a third of social work degree students want to
specialise in children and families, but only three per cent would
opt to work in child protection, according to a new survey for
Community Care, writes Craig Kenny.
The poll of almost 300 degree students suggests that the fallout
from Laming and other inquiries is exerting some influence on
Working with older people attracted under 8 per cent of
respondents, despite Britain’s ageing population. Specialism
in mental health appealed to 13 per cent, while 16 per cent were
undecided about career direction.
Three quarters expected to work for a local authority, while
only 3 per cent saw themselves working in the independent
Many expected only a limited career in front-line services, with
28 per cent expecting this to last less than five years and a
similar proportion anticipating a five to ten year stint. Only 7
per cent wished to work for “as long as possible” in
The survey also suggests that the government’s recent
glossy advertising campaign has had little influence on
people’s decisions to study for the degree, with nine out of
10 saying it had no effect on them. A similar proportion said the
new General Social Care Council had not influenced their
Although three quarters of students received a bursary, a third
expected to run up debts of between £10,000 and £20,000.
A further 40 per cent forecasted debts of up to £10,000.
Almost two thirds were supporting themselves by working, and
just 9 per cent said they had got funding from their employer to
take the degree.