Our guide to social work
Sydney Embray

Our guide to social work

First published date January 27 2016 Amended date January 27 2016

It takes a special kind of person to provide the care, counselling, advice and comfort to those in need.  If you’re looking to truly make a difference in the lives of those around you, a career as a social worker may be your calling. The world always needs more caring people, so if you think you have the personality and drive to help others, why not learn how to make this a profession? Whether you’re the all-round budding humanitarian type or looking to specialise, there are a myriad of social work courses to get you going.  


Character traits

Before you begin, it’s good to know that you’re suited to the task.  Being a social worker requires a high level of empathy—your ability to relate to the emotions of others.  You’ll also be calling on your extraordinary patience and persistence to create an environment in which your cases and clients feel safe to learn and grow. What’s more, a social worker’s heart for others is what keeps them motivated and passionate about the development and success of their clients, but an ability to keep work and life separate is essential to their own happiness as well.


Types of classes

No matter your availability, price range, or preference, there’s a course for you.  Through courses varying from online to weekend certifications, you can achieve your dream of helping people make the most of their lives. 

With a number of different careers available for a trained social worker, the content of courses can vary massively. To help you find the right one for you, we’ve given a brief outline of some of the most popular courses here:

Child protection – Keep children safe and happy in a child protection course. You’ll learn to recognise the signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation as well as the proper avenues to report these signs. Being a successful and effective advocate for children relies on your ability to identify a problem and respond appropriately.

Community work – Take your weekend volunteering to a new level of service or reengage with your neighbours in a course on community work.  Courses cover everything from assisting in the education of adults to polishing your listening and communication skills. 

Social services – Become an advocate for children and vulnerable adults by being involved in social services.  You’ll learn the basics of running your practice, which include record keeping, communication, and practice development, as well as skills pertaining to the health and safety of your clients.  You’ll become an effective support system for those in need with the focus on protection and well-being provided by the courses you take.

Youth work – As with all social work, communication is key. With a course in youth work, you can build a toolbox of skills for communicating with and encouraging the youth in your community.  Work with teenagers who have experienced homelessness or in an after-school youth program; whatever you choose, you’ll be responsible for facilitating the development of vital life skills in the next generation. 


With the proper certification, background, and experience, a career in social work can be a rewarding one.  Social workers can be found helping people with learning, mental, physical, and social problems ranging from OCD to Cerebral Palsy to social anxiety.  Social workers also work as advocates for victims of violence, abuse, and addiction; some social workers specialise to aid children and teens with these issues.  Families and those involved in the foster care and adoption system will often include a social worker in the mix, making this career a necessary and important facet of life.


by Sydney Embray 

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