I'm the first to admit that I'm no expert on Social Work in the UK. With a trip overseas - to work in the field - just around the corner, I've made it my mission to learn more about what to expect when I start working over yonder.
My research started last fall, when I first made contact with HCL. I was referred through the Australian division (don't ask how my email ended up there; I'm not really sure how that happened) to Dave in the HCL Canada office, and I was soon surrounded by application forms. Many, many application forms. It was somewhat overwhelming and I had a lot of questions. Although Dave had answers to everything, I wanted more. More I say! I asked to speak with other HCL candidates, and was put in touch with B, who had recently returned to Canada after four years spent working as a QSW in London.
B was great - still is great, in fact. Every time I write her an email, she replies quickly with a no-nonsense answer. She told me that she travelled to the UK on her own immediately after completing her BSW, and on arrival she worked for Hackney in CP, but very quickly chose an alternate demographic. B ended up working three other jobs before she returned to Canada, and she said she chose HCL because they had the most variety and best social work jobs.
Then I found Julie - an American MSW now working in London. Julie had a rough go at first; not eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme, she had to find an employer who would agree to sponsor her for a VISA. After a few trying months, it seems that everything has worked out. Julie didn't want to work in CP, so she set out to find a different type of social work role. She's now working for Tower Hamlets as a School Social Worker. You can read about her experiences on her blog. Julie has also been a huge source of information for me during this process - filling me in on social work roles and interview tips.
I've found some other social workers through my online trolling, and in my next entry to Traveling Social Workers, I'll briefly share what I learned from them.
Until then, I bid you farewell!