Career Clinic

Q: After six years as a hospice social worker I’ve had enough of working with death and bereavement. I intend to  complete the Enabling Others (supervision, assessment and mentoring skills for the workplace) course this year. What career options would be open to me after taking this?

A: Well done for the professional and personal commitment you are giving in undertaking the Enabling Others course. This specialist-level post-qualifying programme for work-based supervisors is approved by the General Social Care Council.

So, what options might be open to you when you finish thecourse? One possibility would be to negotiate a change in your role with your current employer. Within the hospice movement nationally and internationally a considerable and laudable commitment is given to reflective learning and development.

For example, St Christopher’s Hospice in London provides many education and training programmes including for Metropolitan Police family support officers (police officers who work with families at times of bereavement and tragedy following a crime). Maybe you could contribute to similar work.

Or you could look to take on a supervisory role in a hospice,which might include supervising other social workers, but could also include line-management supervision or consultation with other professionals and volunteers.

You could also look to work with voluntary and community bodiesthat might specialise in bereavement counselling and support. But if you wanted to move away from a focus on bereavement, your skills and knowledge as a reflective practitioner could support paid and unpaid workers in the voluntary or community sectors.

Your experience and expertise may be of interest to agencies that are looking to develop their workers and services. Moving into a staff or service development role in a local authority or a larger independent social care organisation is a possibility.

One of the major contributions skilled, experienced social workerscan make is in building the competence and capacity of the next generation of social workers. So, considering arole in social work education, as a tutor, practice teacher (which would require further post-qualifying study) or workplace supervisor, in your current service or elsewhere, is a way of making a lasting legacy.

Ray Jones is professor of social work at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, and is a former director of social services and BASW chair

I started my first post-qualifying job three months ago at a large council’schildren and families intake team but I’ve quickly realised this position isn’t for me. A vacancy in the same authority’s leaving care team has come up that I’d like to apply for but am worried this will give my employer a bad impression of me. Should I follow my heart?

We will answer this question inthe 5 February issue of Community Care. We will publish readers’ advice too– send it to Derren Hayes by 28 January.

Do you have your own career dilemma? Send your comments or questionsto Derren Hayes

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