This week’s diary is by a Diploma in Social Work student
and part-time social worker.

Monday. Today is my first day on a placement in the
unaccompanied asylum seekers team. I feel anxious because I’ve
started five days late as the university has a shortage of
placements. How am I going to speak to someone who can’t speak
English? I don’t have my planned induction because the demanding
workload and shortage of social workers mean I am allocated a case
immediately. I go and meet him along with a social worker from the
team. Before I realise it, it’s time to go home. Feel too tired to
study – maybe tomorrow night.

Tuesday. Spend today trying to come to terms with the processes
I have to follow and the amount of pressure my colleagues are
under. I organise the rest of my week, make appointments for my
young client and introduce myself to the whole of the team. Wonder
how 24 people cope with working in an office that has only eight
desks and six computers? Take work home, so I’ll have to study
tomorrow night.

Wednesday. Arrive at the office early to find my day has been
rescheduled. Take the train to London to see a firm of solicitors
representing two other young unaccompanied asylum seeker children
being looked after by the duty team because they haven’t been
allocated social workers yet. Arrive back at 3pm and type up their
paperwork. Then visit my young person along with an interpreter.
Spend two hours gathering information and then we all go for his
check up at the doctor. The appointment is at 5pm and we get in two
and a half hours later. Get home at 8.30pm, too tired to study and
go straight to bed.

Thursday. Have an early meeting with my on-site supervisor who
helpfully tries to juggle my schedule so I have time in the day to
do my placement paperwork. She is dedicated and overworked, just
like every other member of this team. Spend the day with my young
person. Obtain his prescription from my own pharmacist and take him
for x-rays, as he is quite ill. I get back to the office at late
afternoon and find a computer to use to catch up on my

Friday. The entire morning is spent in a team meeting and I
realise just how stretched for time my team is. I’ve only been here
for five days but already know how committed everyone has to be in
order to provide an effective service. Every day they go above and
beyond the call of duty. Take my young person shopping and arrive
back at the hotel he’s staying in at 5pm. His bedroom window is
broken and by the time I leave it’s 6pm. Supposed to meet the
others for a drink after work but I am tired. A new unaccompanied
asylum seeker minor has arrived so not many of my colleagues can
go. Still have studying to do and know I’ll have to go in to work

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