The moment I realised... I wanted to be a social worker

Enya Richards explains the moment she realised she wanted to make a difference to people in a really vulnerable time of their lives

2 min read

I have worked in social care for a long time and realised I needed a change. I have an activist personality and have campaigned for environmental and social justice for a long time.

I started to volunteer for a local charity called Open Hearts Open Borders (OHOB) and realised I wanted to work in the voluntary sector. I applied for the social work degree at Plymouth because I knew it would give me the skills and the knowledge to succeed within that ambition.
I first recognised I was becoming a social worker while I was working with OHOB.

We were working with people in a really vulnerable time of their lives, listening to stories, co-recognising needs and working with them to develop plans. 

I became aware that social work wasn't just working in an office, it was working in the community and it was working with people. Therefore I realised that I was actually already doing social work with OHOB.
I’ve really enjoyed my placement. I worked for BEES UK – Bespoke Engaging Educational Service, who work with young people, ages 11 to 14.One young person really struggled to tie their laces and the other young people started to nudge each other and point. I found it really difficult to just step back and observe that situation and see what the young people would do to try and resolve it themselves. One of the young people actually went over to that young person and helped them tie their shoelaces. If I had stepped in in that moment I could have stopped that and put a barrier in place. It was really difficult for me to stop and take a second and observe that situation, but by doing so I let them have that moment for their learning and their peer support.
Social work is a really versatile career and you can go into so many different sectors just from one generic degree. It's a really creative role so every day is different. 
When you're working with people in a really vulnerable time of their lives, you feel really privileged that they've let you in and trusted you, a really rewarding part of the role.

Want to make a rewarding and positive contribution to society?

Social workers support children and families through child protection procedures, fostering and adoption and youth justice to name but a few. They also support adults with issues including disability, drug and alcohol dependency, mental health, homelessness and safeguarding. You'll spend over 170 days on real-life placements with adults and children so you graduate ready to start your professional career. You will get a head start – be eligible to apply to become a registered social worker 
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