How to bring your social work career to the UK

Posted: Aug 03 2018

Social work is a hugely rewarding career to pursue and there’s no better place to do so than in the UK. Not only is it a country whose culture, history and working opportunities rank among the highest on the planet, but it also boasts one of the world’s most developed care systems. Spending more than £140bn a year on health, and over £20bn on social care, its social case system makes for a dynamic, diverse and exciting place to work: in short, perfect for taking the next step in your working life. Here’s why you should consider bringing your social work career to the UK:

Why the UK?

The UK has a long, proud history of social care, with its origins arising from the creation of the ‘Welfare State’ in 1948. This tradition has carried on to the present day: with public spending on health increasing faster than economic growth, the UK offers its social workers a great environment to continue doing what they do best, which is providing care and support to those who need it most. With a hugely varied job, and a healthy pay scale- one where the average pay stands at £32,800- it’s a great chance to make a difference to peoples’ lives.

Working in social care also gives you the chance to progress and develop your role. As the population ages, the role of the social worker will change, which will create many new and exciting job roles in the future. Demand has also been soaring for qualified social workers across the country: in fact, by 2025 there’ll be an extra 275,000 employees needed to meet the demand, giving international workers the perfect opportunity to make their first foray into working life in the UK. As you gain experience, you’ll also be able to take control of your career and move forward into roles with more responsibilities, becoming a team leader or even move into a management position.

It’s not only in social care that the UK has the edge. The country also boasts an employment rate which is at a forty-year low, and performs above average in most sectors in the OECD Better Life Index. A stable economy, a booming labour market and high life satisfaction make the country an attractive place to work, whilst the varied scenery, plethora of well-connected cities and rich history make it a fascinating place to visit. Whether you work in the rugged mountains of Edinburgh or the city lights of London, you’ll never be short of things to do, or good job opportunities.

How can I make the move to the UK?

There’s long been a precedent for social workers moving to the UK, and it’s not hard to make the leap. If you’re a European citizen, then you’ll currently already have the right to work in the UK; if not, you’ll need to have valid immigration or entry status, such as a Working Holiday visa (Tier 5), UK Ancestry Visa, or a Tier 2 visa. For the latter, you’ll need to have a job offer in place from a licensed sponsor. Currently, only social workers working within children’s and family services qualify for the Tier 2 visa.

Alongside an IELTS Level 7 in English, you’ll also need to provide the relevant documents and experience to become registered as a social worker in the UK with the Health and Care Professionals Council, who have a specific procedure that’s tailored to workers from abroad. If you want to work in Ireland, Scotland or Wales, you’ll also be required to register for the councils that are specific to that country.

Before you arrive in the UK, it is worthwhile registering with a reputable agency like Tradewind, who will be able to assist with searching for Permanent and Temporary roles. If you have a minimum of 2 years post qualification experience, we could start to source opportunities for you and organise interviews via Skype or phone before you arrive in the UK. Look out for networking events and meet-ups targeted at international workers to help get more insight on the local industry – and make some new connections.

If you want to gain some experience, then it’s worth looking into getting some social work training in the UK: from training courses to working as a Social Work Assistant, you’ll gain experience and get an edge in the job market as a result.

The world is your oyster

At Tradewind Social Care, we take pride in matching the best people from around the world to the best jobs in social care. Don’t delay: start your career in the UK today by taking a look at our vacancies!

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