Kyle Beasley has worked for Stoke-on-Trent City Council for 3.5 years and is a social worker within the safeguarding team. It was his own experiences growing up in an area that ‘wasn’t the best’ that inspired Kyle to want to make a difference for vulnerable children.
Here, he reveals what skills and qualities you need to be a social worker and why building strong relationships with children and their families is so important for achieving positive outcomes.
When did you decide to become a social worker?
When you’ve been brought up in quite a difficult area, as I was, I think it opens your eyes to a lot of situations that more affluent areas perhaps aren’t exposed to. The area I grew up in wasn’t the best and there were lots of children left to their own devices. This is what inspired me to want to make a difference for the vulnerable children within the local community.
I started off working with a private care agency that provided support for adults with learning disabilities before going to university, where I completed a degree in social work.
In the future, I hope to take on some form of managerial role within the safeguarding team at Stoke-on-Trent CC, as I think there are good opportunities to progress here.
Skills and qualities
One of the key qualities you need to be a social worker is a caring nature. You need to be sensitive to individuals’ emotions, in order to get positive outcomes for the children and families that you’re working with.
Effective communication is also vital – both verbal and written – as you will be writing reports that may be used in court as evidence. You also need really good analytical skills to be able to analyse different social situations, because this will inform any decisions that are being made in respect of the families you are working with.
Another quality you need is resilience to stress because as a social worker you are put under immense pressure and you are working with families who are currently in crisis.
Best and worst things about your job?
As a social worker, my key responsibility is to provide help and support for vulnerable children. Any decision I make must be in the best interests of the child. It’s about working with them to make sure they fully understand their current circumstances and what’s led you to make any decisions on their behalf.
The most rewarding thing about my role is when you know you’ve enabled a child to remain within their birth family, as a result of interventions that you’ve put in place, which in turn provides positive outcomes for the children.
One of the main challenges we face as social workers is public perception. We’re often seen as the bad guys who just want to separate families, when that’s not the case at all. The media doesn’t help in terms of how they portray the social worker role.
What is a typical day like?
Every day is different and you never know what you’re going to be walking in to, from one day to the next. If we take yesterday as an example, one of the families I’m currently working with hit crisis point and I was required to go out and provide intervention and to determine where one of the children was, because they were reported as missing.
What are you most proud of?
There were some serious concerns regarding a child in Stoke and gang affiliation. I was able to build a positive relationship with him and as a result, he disclosed that he was being criminally exploited. Because we had formed that relationship and he felt comfortable disclosing this information, plans could be put in place for him.
That is why it’s so important to build positive relationships with the children, so they have that one person they’re able to trust and will share their situation and what life is really like.
What’s your team like?
Stoke-on-Trent CC is a great authority to work for and my team is very supportive. There are a number of different personalities and we function really well together. We bounce ideas off one another and also have effective management supervision, which I believe is what makes us the team we are.
To anyone who is thinking about entering the profession, I would say that it is one of the most rewarding professions you could ever do.
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