Being a teenager preparing to launch into adulthood brings its own perks. The excitement of independence and following your dreams will most probably be at the forefront of your thoughts. Mainly deciding on a career, which let’s admit is no joke considering that the years you spend studying will have an impact on the job you will be doing for a huge proportion of your life. The question of ‘what do I want to be when I grow up?’ will start spinning in our thoughts from when we were still in primary school. Some may have kept to the same career wish whilst others might have altered or ventured on something different. Therefore, knowledge about different careers is important so that you choose your path with an open mind and do something you are passionate about.

I for one have opted to choose a completely different career from what I wished for when I was younger. I wanted to make a positive difference and bring about change. I always loved the helping profession, so I opted to study and become a social worker, as it seemed to be the right choice! I must say that looking back, I have no regrets about it. The course held at the University of Malta is rich in knowledge about the social work skills, principles, knowledge and values needed. Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to learn about the theories found in social work and also to practice them during your placement. The course is a generic one and can be applied to any setting. It is truly a positive experience with a wonderful team of lecturers who are always present in teaching and supporting their students.

Social work is a very rewarding career where you can truly make a difference in someone’s life as we help them strive through the adversity of life. At the same time, it can also be challenging and taxing so taking care of yourself is crucial to avoid getting burnt out. The areas we work in are various and include any age group from children, teenagers to adults and elderly. As social workers we deal with different types of issues resulting from abuse, domestic violence, substance misuse and mental health.

A day in a social worker’s life can include meeting with clients at home or the office, attending for a multi­disciplinary meeting or a case review, carrying out assessments, writing recordings and reports amongst others depending on the setting that you are working in. Settings range from office based to following patients at hospital or working in a residential home.

In a nutshell, our role in social work life is to support and help individuals and families get through any problems they are facing whilst empowering them to be independent. We listen to their wishes and help them make the necessary changes to achieve their goals and live a more adequate life. As social workers we liaise with various professionals to ensure a holistic approach. Sometimes we also advocate for our clients and strive to bring social cohesion, social change and development. We tend to fight for social justice and make sure that each individual is treated with respect. Keeping the bigger picture in mind helps to make sure that individual’s rights are adhered to.

To focus on all the hard work that, we do throughout the year, we get to celebrate our profession each year. This year it will be held on the 16th March with emphasis on ‘I am because we are – Strengthening social solidarity and global connectedness’. On this day we (social workers) celebrate, as together we can truly make a difference! I feel that throughout my years in social work, I have met with many people who have taught me that perseverance in overcoming any life obstacles is key. Believing in them and seeing them change their lives for the better is the most rewarding thing I could have ever experienced in my career.  As Mahatma Ghandi says ‘Be the change you want to see in the world!’ So if you wish to bring change and do something different, then social work is for you!

Melissa Laura Fenech is a Senior Social Worker at the SupportLine 179/PUD within the Foundation for Social Welfare Services.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us