Read the Community Care Jobs guide, How to Get Ahead in Social Work Without Moving Into Management
A year ago, Lizzie Lake was an experienced child protection social worker in London becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of options for career progression that did not involve management.
“At that time I just wasn’t ready for the step into management. I still loved working with families and there didn’t seem to be that many advanced practitioner jobs on offer in my area,” she says.
Lizzie is not alone. Research by Community Care Jobs carried out last year found that 75% of social workers are keen to progress their career without moving into management.
In response to this need, Community Care Jobs has produced a career guide for senior social workers, exploring the options available and providing top tips, such as using sideways moves to strategically boost skills and knowledge.
Making a sideways move is exactly what Lizzie did. She ended up moving into a hospital social work role instead. She says the role has given her new knowledge in difficult areas, such as fabricated or induced illness, and a better understanding of the health system. She also says she has greater confidence, having had to hold her own in rooms full of consultant doctors.
“I took the job because I felt health was a bit of a blind-spot for many children’s social workers and I wanted to work outside of a local authority setting.
“I’ve really enjoyed it. I feel I have a different relationship with families I work with and I’ve improved my work/life balance, which has been a real joy.”
Lizzie says it wasn’t until she began reviewing her CV that she realised just how much the new job had increased her skills and knowledge base.
She is now considering her options, including advanced practitioner roles.
“Some of them are really interesting and might just tempt me back into local authority work,” she adds.