“I can be in the hills in five minutes and the centre of Manchester in 10”

Social workers explain what they love about working in the North West

Chris Drury, social worker - CAMHS, Rochdale Borough Council

Chris Drury (above), social worker – CAMHS, Rochdale council

What do you like about your job?

I love the challenge of therapeutic work with teenagers, I’ve always wanted to work in child and adolescent mental health and I feel very lucky to have found my dream job.

What attracted you to working in Rochdale?

I was impressed with Rochdale’s newly qualified social worker programme. I felt I really benefited from the programme’s structured peer supervision and guidance from training and HR on what I needed to include in my portfolio. I joined the Employee Professional Development programme for 12 months and have just completed a specialist award in childcare at Salford University.

As a result I’ve recently been awarded level 3 status, which is fantastic. All the courses I have taken led into each other naturally; the system for progression at Rochdale is well established and organised, and one of the great aspects is being able to share my journey with some of the same people I met when I arrived.

What do you like about doing social work in Rochdale?

I enjoy the fact that many of the agencies work well together. I also like the cultural diversity that comes with working in Rochdale. While it can present its challenges at time, it is also very interesting and I enjoy learning about others’ religions and cultural practices.

What do you like about living in Rochdale?

I love the fact that living in Rochdale, I can be in the hills and countryside in five minutes and in the centre of Manchester in 10 to 15. We’ve also recently bought a house in the area and I feel that we have benefited from the area offering great value for money in terms of the housing available. I am a bit of a foodie and I love noseying around the supermarkets and Asian shops. It’s a real sensory experience and can be fun shopping for things that I have never heard of or seen before.

If you could change one thing about social work what would it be?

The drive for newly qualified social workers to go straight into child protection and court teams. I totally agree with Munro’s assertion that it should be the most experienced workforce in this arena. I also feel that throwing NQSWs in at the deep end like this only exacerbates the high turnover of staff.

Amy StoneAmy Stone, safeguarding social worker, Tameside

What does your job involve?

A lot of my cases are child protection or going through care proceedings in court. Day-to-day jobs can be multi-agency meetings to go through child protection plans, unannounced and announced home visits with families and some of the time you are in court for care proceedings. You can also be in the office taking emergency phone calls if something has cropped up in a case and someone needs advice then and there.

What attracted you to working in Tameside?

A colleague of mine worked for Tameside and she spoke very highly of it – mainly about the work atmosphere and the colleagues and the managers within Tameside. Also, I was living in Northwich, Cheshire and I wanted to move to Manchester.

What do you like about doing social work in Tameside?

We’re lucky to have the kind of people we work with here. The multi-agency part of the work is really positive and within the local authority the colleagues. Social work is a difficult job and you can have days where you think ‘why am I doing this?’, but here you’ve always got your colleagues and manager beside you.

What do you like about living in the area?

Where I used to live was quite rural – a little town – so I quite like living in the city (even though Chorlton isn’t really in the city); I like that it is five minutes to Manchester. I like the busyness. Also it’s close to work: I used to travel for an hour, now it’s only 15 minutes.

If you could change one thing about social work what would it be?

More hours in the day. More social workers – there’s always cases you need to be doing and more you feel you need to do, so I wish more people would become social workers because the more we have the more families we can help and the less stressful it would be for the people who are doing it now.

Jennie Kendrick

Jennie Kendrick, approved mental health professional (AMHP), Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust

Why did you become an AMHP?

I was originally a support worker for a housing support provider after doing a psychology degree and that heightened my interest in mental health. I worked alongside care coordinators who worked in community mental health teams at the time, and I thought that this something I’d like to do.

What do you like about working in Manchester?

Manchester is such a diverse area with a range of needs and cultures, so it seemed like a good place to develop my skills. I cover the Wythenshawe area for part of my work and it’s quite a socially deprived area. A lot of people are unemployed, registered sick and on benefits so we do have a great deal of people who experience mental health needs within the area. There’s also a lot of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds and different environmental and social needs, so it’s not just the mental health aspect; you’ve got all of that as well.

What do you enjoy about living in Manchester?

I’m originally from the Wirral, near Liverpool, and I moved here 10 years ago. I really like Manchester as a city. I like that that where I live in south Manchester you can get out to the countryside within 20 minutes, but you’ve also got the city feel and can be in the city centre in 10 or 15 minutes with all the shops and socialising. I enjoy Manchester for the variety, really.

If you could change one thing about social work what would it be?

The picture people have of social work. You say social work to most people and it’s like “oh, children’s services”, as if that’s all social work is. I’d also like the image and portrayal of social work to be more positive, because a lot of the time it is.

Would you like to work in the North West? Find out more by reading our social work careers guide.

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