Recent years has seen an influx of Social Work recruits to Britain from other countries. Local authorities are contacting agencies in the USA, Canada, Australia, India, and Africa as well as from the European community. There has been a heavy supply of new professionals joining the diverse community in Britain adding value to the social welfare service. However this has resulted in challenges for workers and service users in terms of new recruits being highly skilled but often lacking in basic knowledge about British cultural, economics and diversity as well as procedural information required to hit the ground running.
Unfortunately not a lot is really available for workers concerning what to expect when they get here. It is would seem fundamental for everyone's benefit that workers are offered more than just an induction programme on arrival, they need to be offered a mechanism to build their own induction and socialisation programme in advance.
Workers who have come to the country under their own steam, in this context I mean not having been recruited from abroad by on e of the major recruitment companies would probably benefit from this to a greater degree more than others who have been recruited by such means.
The induction package can be put together quite simply by workers themselves prior to coming to Britain if they know where to get the information from. But all is not lost if you have already arrived, it's not too late to put together your own pack and to use it to get a better job if you need to.
Although the following is not exhaustive it is based on research of the main practice, guidance and legislation made available to Social Workers and is intended to aid workers in formulating their own Induction Package. It's also based on common sense.
Social workers based in all social care setting s will need to know about some common core information.
Start by finding out about the diversity in the area you are working in and the makeup of the population. What are the main community languages used?
What relevant legislation will you be operating under? Check the Government website.
What templates for assessments are available and accepted by the Authority? All workers have to use a framework and this too can be obtained from the internet.
What Policies and Procedures must be adhered to? These are generally called Procedural Manuals and are usually on Local Authority websites or intranets. These will help you to ensure that you are clear about your main roles and responsibilities as well as crucial fair access criteria.
Generally they should ensure that you do the following
oMeet service users needs
oDo not break the law
oGive you an understanding of how your local authority does it's job
oOutline what is expected from you in terms of Customer Care
oProvide you with knowledge which ensures you give members of the public information and advice
oAid you in taking appropriate and timely referrals
oProvide you with the tools to make recommendations to managers based on information received or analysis
oGuide you in obtaining information and data which is then provided for case management and Management planning purposes
What is the core business of the team you are interested in joining? Obtain a person specification and a job description; it will outline main areas of work.
Obtain a telephone directory of staff. You should only do this once you have joined the company as they are not allowed to give these out.
Obtain a department and management / organisational map; find out who does what and who is accountable to whom.
Research your chosen area. There are many free websites which will help you obtain vital information about your field.
Really spend time finding out and having an understanding of how your supervision will take place. There is usually clear guidance on intranet for this or management manuals.
Read all the job documentation which they send you with the application form. If you are recruited through an agency, once you join the authority contact the human resources department and ask them for a copy of Health and safety, Grievance procedures, etc
Training is essential in any social care field. Ensure you know what the central and most important training is and how you will obtain it and evidence it as continual professional practice. Also do not forget to update your CV with any of the specific training you have undertake as part of this process or following it.
As you can see all of this information is available before you join. If you do some homework you will be in a position to set yourself up for a good induction which is not totally dependent on your supervisor's skills and you can also hit the ground running in terms of knowing relevant legislation, assessments skills and timescales and a full analysis of your training needs.