If you are looking for a career in social work or passionate about helping other families, then Medway offers opportunities for you.
Social workers provide a valuable role in supporting many children and adults across our communities, and working in Medway provides professionals with several benefits.
More than 350 qualified and trainee social workers from across the south-east were joined by the country’s Chief Social Worker, Isabelle Trowler, at Medway’s Social Work Conference. The conference, which was held at Gillingham FC’s Priestfield Stadium, on Monday, 5 November, was also attended by Tony Hunter OBE, Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence; Professor Anna Gupta, Royal Holloway; Nick Pendry, Clinical Director for Centre of Systemic Social Work; Sarah Henry, safeguarding trainer and Professor Jane Reeves, Director of Studies MA Child Protection and Co-Director of the University of Kent Centre for Child Protection.
The theme of the conference was ‘helping children thrive in families’ and gave attendees the opportunity to hear about other social work experiences across the country and to share best practice on supporting children and families.
England’s chief social worker
One of the speakers, Isabelle Trowler, qualified as a social worker in 1996 and took up the role as the government’s chief social worker for England in 2013. Isabelle attended the conference to speak about policy and practice, and share her experiences of her life working in the social care setting. Isabelle said social care is the ‘best career possible’ and would encourage people to train to become a social worker.
Speaking after the conference, Isabelle said: “There are a number of authorities across England that are on a journey for excellence. Medway Council has a real vision for where they want to go and the social work conference was a testimony for how the workforce is behind them. A few hundred people attended and that’s great as it means they are interested in social care. This is a good moment for Medway and I wish them all the best in their journey - it’s not easy, but I hope they get to where they want to.”
The conference demonstrated Medway’s commitment to make a difference to families’ lives, as well as the vast support provided to professionals working in social care. Medway has seen a reduction in the number of children with protection plans due to its improved working methods.
Working in Medway has many benefits
Medway is currently recruiting social workers and offers much more than the job itself. Becoming a social worker in Medway provides a number of benefits and incentives, including a competitive salary, a Microsoft surface pro and mobile phone to support flexible working, lease car or essential user car allowance, and an excellent pension scheme.
Medway, as a place, is attracting young professionals, as well as experienced business people due to its proximity to London and the continent. All five of Medway’s railway stations are connected to the high speed railway service, taking just 34 minutes to commute to or from central London. Medway also has fast links to the M2, M20 and M25 motorways giving motorists the convenience of reaching other areas in the south-east quickly.
Medway’s economy has grown to £5.17bn and there are now more than 14,000 businesses, including many waterfront restaurants and leisure activities, providing residents and local workers with plenty to do at lunch or outside of working hours.
Making a difference to children’s lives
Ian Sutherland, Director of Children’s and Adult Services at Medway Council, said: “Medway is a fantastic place to either start your career as a social worker or develop your professional experience within a team surrounded by other people passionate about making a difference to children’s lives. We have a pod system at Medway ensuring each social worker has a support network and each pod has a dedicated admin support officer, reducing the amount of time social workers spend on paperwork. We’re committed to providing opportunities for continuous professional development, which is why we have also formed a teaching partnership with two universities and Kent County Council to ensure our social workers have access to the latest research-based training. Our social workers are valued and we provide support throughout their careers, and help ensure they have manageable caseloads.”