‘Social work is my passion’: what readers love about the profession

A compilation of readers' letters to the next generation of social workers as part of our Choose Social Work campaign

dear future social worker image for Community Care's Choose Social Work campaign

As we continue on with our Choose Social Work campaign, we have received a whole host of emails from readers writing their own Dear Future Social Worker letters to the next generation of practitioners.

With the letters sharing inspiring stories, invaluable advice and heartening messages, we thought it best not to keep them to ourselves.

The first round of letters we want to showcase include an origin story from rural Ireland, advice on what to remember during hard times and insights into what makes social work a worthwhile career.

Here are Jo, Daniel, Catherine and Vicki’s letters.

Joanne Kavanagh: “I feel privileged to serve the most vulnerable young people”

Dear future social worker,

Social work is my passion and, after working in the profession for over 30 years, I remain as committed as ever.

My story starts on a small farm in the rural west of Ireland. Like generations before me, I emigrated and came to England. I started a career in social work in the 1990s in Medway, where I have remained to this very day!

People ask me why I’ve stayed and, basically, it comes back to the same answer every time – the people.

I have been fortunate to work alongside inspirational and passionate people – the salt of the earth – who sincerely care for our young people. Each day I see them reaching out, listening, empowering, and supporting our children and young people to help make a difference, even a small one, and celebrate the little wins.

My first manager was one of them – a truly inspirational woman who nurtured me as a young social worker and took me under her wing. She was not only a social worker, but also a foster carer and an adopter who was passionate about direct work with young people. She instilled in me a lifelong passion of supporting our care experienced young people in Medway.

I am proud to be a social worker and I feel privileged to be in a position where I can serve the most vulnerable young people in our society. They have taught me to appreciate what I have in my life, and given me an unquenchable thirst to learn and develop for them.

I cannot think of a more rewarding and challenging career.


Daniel Wilding: “We want to be speakers for those whose voices are often silenced”

Dear future social worker,

Social workers do this work because we care, we are compassionate, and we want to connect with others on a human level. We want to be speakers for those whose voices are often silenced. We want to make life a little better and a little easier for anyone who needs us.

Many of us have had lived experiences of social or mental health services in our own lives, giving us a unique ‘dual qualification’.

As a mental health social worker, I’ve found that positive change comes from the many amazing people we work with. It is our job to encourage and support people to recognise their abilities and their strengths when, for whatever reason, they can’t see it on their own.

We make life-changing and often difficult choices in the best interests of people unable to do this for themselves. It is extremely humbling to be a guest in their lives in this way.


Vicki Shevlin: “Remember, your actions speak louder than words.”

Dear future social worker,

I know you’re wondering how you’ll do it all.

There’s new information for you to take in everyday and it feels overwhelming. Processes, policy, procedure. So much that it is easy to forget where you will have the most impact – people.

There will be times when you don’t know what to say. Remember, your actions speak louder than words anyway.

There will be times when you say the wrong thing. Remember, there is grace and kindness in the ability to apologise.

There will be times when you will feel overcome with anger at the cruelty of systems and governments. Remember, there is always something you can do, however small it might seem at the time. Don’t give up.

There will be times when you realise some people never needed you at all. They needed their family, their friends and their advocates. Remember that stepping back is always an option. It’s okay for us to talk about the harm we, as social workers, can cause if we are not mindful of our words and actions.

There will be times when you will cry and stress and search for new jobs until your colleague brings you a brew and you are reminded that you chose this job for a reason.

For all the complications and complexities, there will be times when you get to see the positive impact you have had on a person’s life. I hope that social work will give you strength to know that social justice is integral to what you do and that it is possible when we are in community.

I hope that wherever you are on your journey, and whatever you are feeling, you know that you aren’t in it alone.

Vicki Shevlin, Social Work Sorted

Catherine Andrews: “[This career] will open your eyes and heart in ways you could never imagine.”

Dear future social worker,

Firstly, congratulations on starting this career! It is one that will open your eyes and heart in ways you could never imagine.

It is no 9-5 job and has its expected (and unexpected) challenges. This will inevitably help with your own learning and development as you gain more experience.

Just remember, we are privileged to be entering people’s homes and asking them to open up to us. We offer a safe space for them to talk and express how they are feeling while guiding them to make choices that will allow them to flourish in their lives.

I promise you the good days outweight the bad. Professional curiosity is your friend! Hold onto your own values and never let the reason you came into social work be the reason that you leave!


Do you want to write your own letter to the next generation of social workers? If so, please email ruth.hardy-mullings@markallengroup.com to contribute.


4 Responses to ‘Social work is my passion’: what readers love about the profession

  1. Dr. Thay Joe Tan August 25, 2023 at 1:55 pm #

    ? … amazing work you do, Daniel … keep on going … what you do is so much needed … ??

    • Lucy Moore August 26, 2023 at 6:32 am #

      Well done Daniel , what you do is amazing and so kind , keep being the voice that others may struggle to be , your making such an impact

    • Daniel Wilding August 27, 2023 at 8:12 am #

      Thank you, Dr. Tan. Likewise. Keep doing your work through acupuncture with people because is much needed.

  2. Lynda September 6, 2023 at 4:19 am #

    Achievement comes from having dreams that are greater than your feelings of dread.