What skills does a social worker need?
13 Sep 21
“At the University of Bolton, we take great pride in providing a quality, supportive learning environment for our students.”
Professor George E Holmes DL | President & Vice Chancellor
“...tutors are very supportive and you’re not just a student ID number, at this university you are an individual with a name.”
Ellisse Vernon | BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing
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Categories: Social Work, Postgraduate
Want to improve your social work practice and increase your chances of progression? Here’s a simple 5 step plan to follow…
At the University of Bolton, we believe in nurturing talent and creating well-rounded graduates who are ready to excel in the workplace. We build important social work values while providing a friendly and supportive learning environment for students to grow.
We are No.1 for Student Satisfaction in social work courses* for the second year running so there’s nowhere better to do your postgraduate training. Here’s our 5 step plan for developing your social work practice to become a better social worker.
1. Work on your empathy
The single most important trait for social workers is empathy. This may seem obvious, and you may feel like you are empathetic enough. But building your empathy skills means admitting your biases. We all have them. And it’s important to recognise these to create positive changes for the future.
Delving deeper into your inner thoughts and feelings is key to understanding and removing any biases that exist. Other ways to work on this vital skill is to take yourself outside of your comfort zone or your usual environment, so you can connect with people from all walks of life.
2. Stand up for others
As part of your empathetic journey, it’s important to put those skills into practice. According to neuroscience, empathy happens when the brain’s emotional centre and cognitive centre work together.
This process comes very naturally to some people, but evidence-backed empathy exercises can actually be helpful in improving this connection in the brain too.
It’s also essential to stand up for others and stand up for change to build empathy skills, as this uses your training in real life. By doing this, listening actively and supporting those in your community, you are flexing your empathy muscle and developing new habits and social work values.
3. Develop cultural competence
As well as empathy skills, cultural competence is just as fundamental in your growth. Diversity and inclusivity are hugely important, and are big topics in the sector right now. So it’s important to be able to work effectively with people from different backgrounds.
It is necessary to possess a non-judgemental attitude when delivering services to people with varying cultural experiences associated with their race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability.
4. Study a master’s degree
The University of Bolton’s MA Social Work course combines university learning, work-based practice placements and ongoing professional skills development to take your social work practice to the next level.
Our passionate tutors get to know you, and your career ambitions, so they can tailor the programme to align with your personal and professional development goals. As well as honing your practical skills and instilling important social work values, you’ll also get the chance to grow your network.
We have a vibrant and diverse student community, and we’ve been a Top 6 UK university for Teaching Quality in The Times Good University Guide for the past three years.* This makes us a great place to embark on your journey of becoming a better social worker.
5. Have a good work/life balance
Whether you’re in full-time work or balancing your career with a postgraduate degree, having time to switch off and relax is crucial. Not only does a good work/life balance make you happier, but it makes you more effective at your job.
It can be easy to forget to look after yourself when your job requires you to be there for others. But having a good social and personal life, eating well and exercising regularly, are all necessary in keeping you at the top of your game.
We put students and their needs first, and that’s why we offer a range of mental health and wellbeing services to support you throughout your studies.
To find out more about applying in September 2021, see our MA Social Work course page.
Or if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on +44 (0)1204 903 394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Complete University Guide in 2021 and 2020, North West region
**The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021, 2020 and 2019
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