“You build really strong relationships with the children. That’s really meaningful”
Bethany Smith is a senior social worker with the children in care team at Peterborough City Council.
She joined the local authority in December 2018 and has been a children’s social worker for almost four years.
"I love coming to work and different things happen in the day that maybe you weren’t expecting. You’re never ever going to get bored in this job.”
As a member of the children in care team, Bethany works with children or young people for a long period of time.“The children are fantastic and I really enjoy working with them. They make me laugh every day and you build really strong relationships with them. That’s really meaningful.”
As well as enjoying the job itself, Bethany feels supported by her colleagues and senior managers at Peterborough, something her previous jobs have lacked.
“When I’ve had a difficult day, I feel like management always recognise that it isn’t always easy and say thank you. My senior manager knows when I need to hear this and takes notice of the good work I’ve done. In previous jobs, this was never normally noticed.
“At Peterborough, the managers like to know what you’ve done and have time to listen. They know when we need that boost. It’s not all about being recognised for what you do, but when you’re struggling, it really does mean a lot,” said Bethany.
Meet Megan Smith from our Adolescent Team
Megan Smith is a Senior Social Worker within the Adolescent Team of Cambridgeshire County Council.
She joined as a student and was thrilled to be offered a job upon completion of her Master’s degree. Megan completed her Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE), and qualified as a social worker.
Following the restructure of services in November of the same year, Megan moved to the Adolescent Team as a Social Worker, before being promoted to her current role in April.
“I absolutely love this role,” she said. “The adrenalin rush created by the work is addictive”. And this is evidenced by the fact that, at the time of writing, Megan was pregnant and planning to work as close to her due date as possible!
“Every day is different, and working with teenagers can be a real challenge, but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I can really see the positive impact that my work has had with young people and their families and am so proud to be part of such an exciting and important team.”
There was a high number of vacancies in the team when Megan joined, however she believes that this tough start to the role helped her grow both personally and professionally. “Because of this situation, I was forced to really step up and was exposed to a variety of experiences and challenges that I feel have benefited me greatly and have enabled me to progress quickly.
“I am so passionate about my role, my team and in promoting and supporting the development of others”.
Since joining the team, which is based mostly at Noble House, Ely, Megan has mentored a student social worker, who has now moved on, and continues to mentor and supervise other members of the team. “It’s good to know you’ve helped someone kick-start their career in this profession,” she said.
“A great deal of our work is carried out in times of crisis and our duty system enables those in need to receive the support that they need at that time, while allowing the rest of the workforce to focus on their own caseloads. There is a strong feeling of unity within our team and we help each other out where we can, which allows team members to work flexibly and remotely.
“My manager is brilliant and extremely supportive and has always been encouraging and motivating. I am pushed and supported to grow and develop.”
Meet Team Manager Gabriella Cox
Gabriella Cox is Team Manager within the City Assessment Team as part of Cambridge City District.
After interning in the TV and documentary sector, Gabriella had a change of heart and decided to become a Social Worker.
She says: ‘I have always been interested in people’s stories, which is why I was originally interested in documentary work. I just decided that I wanted to make a real difference, and, more than anything, work to support complex people, which I could fulfil with social work.’
Having completed her social work masters in 2013, Gabriella started her first social work job in Devon in 2014. She was a Senior Social Worker in Plymoutha role she stayed in for just under a year before moving to Cambridgeshire County Council in February 2017. Here, she has progressed to Team Manager of the Assessment Team.
‘Cambridgeshire County Council is a great place to work. You have a strong group of colleagues around you and, most importantly, every day is different. We are really lucky to have complete variety as Social Workers and the role is never boring,’ she says.
One of the things Gabriella enjoys most is the way her colleagues and managers work as a team. ‘The morale is high,’ Gabriella says.
‘Everyone’s really friendly, professional and helpful, and we work together to achieve the best outcomes for the children and families we work with.’
Although the team aspect of the role is very important to Gabriella, the most rewarding part of her job is seeing positive outcomes for the families she helps.
Gabriella says Cambridgeshire County Council has a number of strengths that lead to these positive outcomes. ‘We are swift with getting cases to court if necessary and coordinating with different teams and external agencies. The council also has a strong commitment to lowering caseloads moving forward, and a great assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) programme to grow and develop potential Social Workers.’
Gabriella says she can see herself staying at Cambridgeshire County Council and looks forward to moving through the service and experiencing Social Work in an alternative team at some point, such as the Adolescence Team or Children’s Team.