Childline has been around now for 32 years and has helped millions of children in that period. But, what’s it like to work for them? University of Manchester Social Work student, Simmy, used to work as Helpline Counsellor for the charity and here she tells us how her experiences there pushed her in to the direction of the MA course at the university.
My name is Simmy and I am currently studying a master’s in Social Work. Everyone tends to think that a master’s course is just a year long but the MA in Social Work is somewhat unique in that it’s two years so it’s double the joy!
Although I’ve only been on this course for 7 months, I feel like I have learnt a lot and I have gained a lot of experience, we have skills days, lectures and seminars and even just talking to the tutors about their experiences in the social work sector has increased my understanding significantly. There is a lot of information to take in but I know it’s all worth it. You cover a range of areas, from learning about the child/adult individually, to the wider social context and its effect on individuals. Overall, the MA in Social Work is not all just about learning, but socially engaging with society and social aspects.
My inspiration for doing a master’s in Social Work came from my voluntary experiences of being a ChildLine Helpline Counsellor. This role allowed me to speak to children and young people about whatever they would like to talk about, whether that was about friendships, going to the doctors or leaving the family home. Every call was different! Though I was supporting children and young people over the phone, I was missing the real interaction. This is the main reason for going down the Social Work route because I knew I would be able to work with both the child and their family and be able to support them to reach their potential.
Image sourced from ChildLine
Something which took my interest during this course was the film club and I can imagine you thinking ‘A film club on an academic and professional course?!’ Yes, there is one. Yes, it is about watching a film but it is actually about coming together with other students and tutors on the course to discuss the film and focus on social work issues. I remember attending the first session of the film club, not knowing what to expect and not knowing what to talk about but towards the end of the film club and any other film I was watching, the main thing I was doing was focusing on historic/current social work issues such as poverty, family relationships and the government. Now every time I watch a film, it is something I look out for.
Finally, I want to talk about my time as a student representative on the MA course. This is where I provide my peers with a voice to talk to about the course, whether that is positive or negative so it can be discussed among various people who are involved within the course from students (like myself!), to tutors and the head of the course too. This experience has also allowed me to build networks with other students on different courses and I’m able to see what their good and bad points are too so I am able to improve the course for my fellow peers but for all the future social workers in the making.
The course has allowed me to enhance existing skills but it has also provided me new experiences and learning opportunities!
Thanks for reading 😊