Social workers graduate each year with an array of interests and skills. Some work directly with vulnerable families, others with policy, mental health, or community development. New graduates can have a difficult time finding their first US based job without a sufficient amount of work experience that relates to their desired field. Applicable field experience is very important to breaking into the industry. Interestingly, there is a need abroad for many skills sets and interests in social services such as fundraising, non profit work, direct services, and public policy, from childhood to geriatrics and everything in between. England is one country that offers accessibility, affordability,
England’s Shortage of Social Workers
England has had a shortage of Qualified Social Workers to provide child protection work for its many councils throughout the country. Those with the proper qualification, a Bachelors or Masters Degree in Social Work, have an opportunity to apply to a Local Council (city or county governments are called Councils in England) through an overseas Social Work recruiter. Due to the shortage, this qualified applicant is able to apply for a Tier 2 (or skilled worker) visa.
Although there has been a cap on the amount of Tier 2 visas that are allowed in any given year, the opportunity exists and is well worth fighting for! Children are vulnerable, no matter what country or family they are born into. As a US trained social worker, your skills and knowledge are valued and needed in England, and this intern or work opportunity will give you valuable experience working under highly qualified and knowledgeable British Social Workers. Child protection work is not easy, but the system is setup to support you with training, supervision, and a team that will guide you along your journey.
Rewarding Work Overseas
Child protection work is rewarding because you are the voice for a child in need. Living abroad and immersing in a different culture at the same time is just a major perk. This specific profession involves hours of traveling to family homes, school classrooms, community centers, and at times out of the area or even out of the country to complete statutory visits. The experience will help prepare any professional’s toolbox as skills such as crisis intervention, cultural immersion, assimilation, and time management are put to the test. What is Child Protection work without a few court visits? Although intimidating, it will teach teamwork, confrontation and anger management, engagement, and harness your report writing. All wonderful skills that will easily transfer over to your U.S. job hunt.
Child Protective work in England is not only emotionally rewarding, and a great way to get direct work experience after you finish your Social Work degree, is can be financially lucrative as well. Locum workers, or temporary, fill-in employees, are in abundance, and get paid a higher rate. Staffing agencies are full of short and long term Social Service openings all over the country. You can easily work in one region, then decide to live on the other side of the country if your heart desires a change.
Local Councils may even offer you a permanent post and help sponsor your visa to stay for a set contract period, with paid time off starting at five weeks for most posts. Professionals will have the ability to elect into the British retirement system, join local workers unions, are covered under the National Health Insurance, and can even apply for spouses to obtain valid work permits. So as you get ready to cross the pond, pack your wellies(rain boots) and a sturdy umbrella, practice your proper British and get ready to enjoy an experience that is unmatched!
Signing off (in British)!