As a student currently working towards my Social Work qualification, I have received some great advice from many of the social workers I have encountered. But I have equally been subjected to commentary about the future of social work, about how I am brave for getting into it now, or how it’s not what it used to be or even how social work, within the adult’s remit anyway, is soon to become extinct! To be taken over by medically trained colleagues under upcycled titles like ‘Mental Health Practitioner’! Great, thanks for that! What positive sentiments to receive at the start of what I hope is a long and rewarding career in adult social work.
But this should not mean all is doomed in social work! The new Care Act 2014 has legislated an agenda of empowerment, recovery, person centeredness and holistic wellbeing, and has put adult safeguarding into statute for the first time; these are values which are undeniably ingrained in social work tradition. This should not be a time where social workers shy away in defeat to bureau-medicalisation, or discourage the next generation of social workers from stepping up but instead highlight the importance of these values and messages, now enshrined in legislation. I firmly believe that this is an exciting time to be in social work, that our training and tradition means we are in the best possible position to lead the way in developing a new era of adult social care and mental health and I for one can’t wait to qualify and get stuck in.
Andrew Broughton, Social Work Student