Residential social workers are responsible for the well-being of residents
living within a unit or centre. These may be adults or children, and
many will have physical or learning disabilities, mental health problems,
or be emotionally vulnerable.
By providing counselling, teaching, therapy and physical care, the aim
is to help residents become as independent as possible.
They tend to work a 35 to 40-hour week, with unsociable hours, including
shifts and rotas for weekend and evening work. They may also be on call
in case of emergencies. They will normally be based in a children's
home, hostel or adult or youth centre, where they usually sleep in,
on a rota basis.
Salaries range from £13,000 to over £25,000.
A residential social worker should:
• be sensitive and compassionate
• be patient and tolerant
• have good communication skills
• enjoy working as part of a team
• be able to cope with stressful situations.
Residential social work is a growth area. Jobs are available in most
areas of the UK with local authorities and, increasingly, the private
sector, voluntary agencies, and specialist employment agencies.
Social workers used to need a Diploma in Social Work (DipSW). This is
gradually being replaced by a new three-year degree in social work.
Full-time and part-time students spend at least 200 days on placement
under supervision, and students are assessed throughout the course.
There are post-qualifying awards to help individuals improve their skills
and career opportunities.