Jennifer came to Lewisham Southwark College to return to education and study Access to Social Work.
Now a Social Worker in a role as a Family Support Practitioner for Children Centre, our successful former student spoke to our Alumni team about her experiences of college and beyond.
Jennifer didn’t always know what she wanted to do. “Lewisham Southwark College helped me to shape my career,” she said. “The Access to Social Work course was very intense and I developed excellent skills such as communication, time management, critical thinking, organisation, presentation skills and many other skills that I find very useful throughout my current practice.
“My proudest career moment so far has been recently becoming a Social Work graduate with the ability to multi task and to think outside the box.”
Jennifer described her current responsibilities as a Family Support Practitioner.
“My responsibilities include undertaking assessments so that children and young people’s needs can be met, as well as planning and organising meetings to review the progress of my clients, and undertaking outreach reach work to identify vulnerable families so that they can access suitable services to meet their needs, among many other duties.”
Of course, there are some challenging aspects of social work.
“Working with vulnerable individuals has certainly been quite a high pressure experience for me,” admitted Jennifer, “particularly when I had to deal with contradictory demands such as referrals to social services where there are limited resources. I always have to tread carefully while planning and organising to aid.
“However, I realise that there are always going to be matters that are beyond my control. In order to thrive under pressure I normally tend to take short breaks to refresh my energy, and if pressure on the job becomes too stressful, I use my experience to remind myself that there is only a particular amount of work I can reasonably be able to undertake. This helps me to not panic, but stay focused so that I can achieve my best.”
So, what’s next for Jennifer? “I would like to build on my skills and professional development and become Senior Practitioner,” she said.
Finally, Jennifer had some advice to share with others hoping to get into the social work industry. “Work hard and don’t give up,” she said.