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Charlotte Thompson

Charlotte
Thompson

United Kingdom
I worked within two local authorities as a student social worker. I found that I learned many transferrable skills whilst on work placement

More about Charlotte

Employer name: Nottinghamshire County Council

Job title: Social Care Advisor

Did your placement turn into a graduate role; if not how did you source your graduate role?

I was a student social worker with Nottinghamshire County Council, all incoming work sent to social work teams comes from the first point of contact (which is social care advisors in the customer service centre) so I was aware of the team. I applied for the job via the County Council jobs website, a week after finishing at NTU.

Did you get support from the Employability team during your search for this role? If yes, what support did you get and how did it help you?

NTU employability gave presentations and seminars to our cohort whilst I was a student, and they were quite involved in the last year of the degree. I did not see any information on the job role though until I applied for it.

What was the recruitment process like for this role?

I first completed an application form for the job role, these are used by the team to screen applicants for the skills needed. I then had an interview via Microsoft teams with two other team leaders. I found the recruitment process to be much more friendly than I was expecting, as I had never had a formal interview before, a lot of the questions asked were based on relevant experience, and during my interview, I felt that the team leaders were genuinely interested in my background degree and placement experience.

How has the pandemic affected your job search / working experience compared to expectations?

I had already experienced working from home whilst on my final placement as a social work student with Nottinghamshire County Council. Training for the social care advisor role was office based. That was great as it allowed us to meet some of our colleagues in person and enabled us to ask questions with an ease that you are unable to when it is online (from previous experience).

I was nervous about returning home, as once training was complete as we were from then onwards based there. However, I have found the support received from the team to be faultless and people are readily available to support where required. It has also developed my lone-working skills and independent thinking which I think is a vital skill to have. Especially, as the local authority is moving to a hybrid-working model.

Did you do a work experience placement whilst at NTU, if so how has this helped?

I worked within two local authorities as a student social worker. I found that I learned many transferrable skills whilst on work placement that are relevant to my new role as a social care advisor. Having knowledge of the systems used, processes, local authority teams and legislation / policies has been useful, in being able to advise the people who access our services accurately. It has also been beneficial to have a prior understanding of how the social care teams work.

What advice would you give to NTU students applying for graduate roles this year?

To explore their options in their career pathway. Many job roles offer the opportunity to progress and working as a social care advisor gives that same opportunity. I applied for several different jobs, including roles as a Social Worker and as a CCO, but I am very happy I was offered the job I have now and it's a role that I had never heard of or thought to look into previously.

What is a typical working day/week like for you?

We handle all incoming enquiries to adult social care for Nottinghamshire County Council. This can involve anything from someone needing a minor adaptation such as grab rails under the handypersons scheme to making a referral for a care and support assessment. We speak directly to people needing to access our services, to their families and professionals already involved in work with them. The role also includes a lot of signposting and referrals to external services such as Brighter Futures, Moving Forward and Connect. We also support people who have covid-19 and signpost them to support needed such as with; shopping and picking up medication.

People can often quite be upset when they come on the phone to us, as we are the first point of contact in a crisis. It is very rewarding to be able to support people in accessing the support they feel they need. Often, people don't know what support they need when they contact us and through having a conversation and picking up on things people say, we are able to identify and offer services we think people would benefit from. We are able to ask questions in a chat as we are based at home and if it is a general question e.g., "what services offer this support" everyone helps each other, and it is a really lovely atmosphere. We are also supported by senior advisors, whenever we are stuck with something and need support. The role can be very fast-paced as we will often go from taking one telephone call, straight to another about something completely different.

What would you consider the top three transferrable skills acquired in this role?

  • Investigation skills / being professionally nosey – being able to ask the right questions and listen to what someone is saying in response, to pick up on things that they may need support with and being able to offer appropriate services.
  • Active listening – people need to feel like they are being listened to and heard especially in times of crisis. Some people who contact us may not have spoken to anyone else all day or week so responding to them in a way that shows we are listening helps to build a rapport.
  • Emotional resilience – people often disclose upsetting things to us, they may have safeguarding concerns about a close friend or family member, or they may be upset with a service they are receiving. This role has built my emotional resilience, ensuring that I am still able to empathise and be compassionate, whilst protecting my own wellbeing.

How would you sum up your job, in only three words?

Rewarding, Supportive, Fast-paced.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418
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