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Advice for social work students: Preparing for the jobs market

The jobs market for Newly-qualified Social Workers is difficult – what can you do to increase your chances of getting a job?

The number of students has increased by between 40 and 70 % since 2005 (This was in response to a major shortage of social workers)

Job freezes, cut backs and pressures on local authority social work departments. 2010 /13 saw overall budget cuts of up to 25%. However there is some evidence that social work posts have had some protection.

It has become an “employers” market. Given the choice between a NQSW and an experienced social worker many, but not all, employers will take the former.

You need to start planning your career at the beginning of your course – Have a plan – treat like a project plan.

There have been cut backs in the voluntary sector, another major employer of social workers.

It is known that some social workers have taken redundancy and then signed on as social workers for agencies, increasing competition for jobs.

lhe pressure on social workers has increased because of cut backs and therefore there is less capacity to take students on placement, thereby depriving students of statutory placements.

Some local authorities are reluctant to employ people who have not had a local authority placement even though they have cut back on the number of placements they offer.