Samantha, 30, lives locally and has been a Social Worker in the Assessment Team at Together for Children for two years.
Sam’s mum was a foster carer and fostered children throughout Samantha’s teenage years, this inspired her to become a social worker, so she could help people and play a part in providing the best outcome for children. Sam said “I was raised in an underprivileged area and from a young age could see scenarios around which required intervention, I did not know what that intervention was until we became a foster family and could see the impacts on children first hand – It was from then I knew I wanted to help children and families”.
Sam gained a place on an Access Course through college and upon completing the college course, with a distinction grade, she went on to study a BA Honours degree in Social Work at the University of Sunderland. During the university course, she went on two placements. One with adults and one with children at the Together for Children Coalfields Locality. Samantha thoroughly enjoyed her time at Coalfields and found the staff to be really encouraging and supportive. Upon completing her degree, she applied for a permanent job at Together for Children and got a job in the Assessment Team, where she has remained since.
When describing her ASYE year, Samantha said “The Assessment Team is essentially the front door of the service, so it can get really busy at times, but our caseloads were capped at 18 and they increased in complexity over the year”. She also adds “You are given regular supervision which is really good especially when you are new and overall TfC are really supportive”.
Sam has just applied to be a practice educator, allowing her to mentor new students coming into social work who are currently studying within the local universities. She says “I really enjoy working at TfC, I haven’t wanted to work anywhere else. Sunderland is diverse and you get opportunities to work with new challenges every day. There is clear career progression and lots of opportunities to continue professional development with several training courses and online resources available. It’s great to work in a busy environment that is constantly evolving and improving towards a more child centred environment and good results from Ofsted”.
When asked what the best thing about being a social worker is, Samantha said “It’s about empowering families and it’s a great to know that the family which you have worked with and have assessed receive the support they need and outcomes for the children in particularly are improved’’.
Samantha’s advice for anyone wanting to be a social worker is ‘do your research and get prior experience’. She adds “It can be emotional at times, but you see people have careers for 30 or 40 years within social care because it’s so rewarding”. Her advice to those thinking about applying for a job at TfC is “It’s a great place to work and the support you get is really valuable. The facilities are good, there is no hot desking, you’re provided with equipment to enable flexible working and there is always communications to let you know what it going on within the organisation’’.