5.1 How employers can help
The demands on trainee social workers are recognised to be tough, and you will explore this in the following activity.
Activity 8 How employers can help
Watch the following video in which social work recruiter, Pash Selopal, who you met in Week 3, describes how Frontline, his employer, supports trainee social workers to develop resilience.
Which measures does Frontline use to help trainee social workers develop resilience and use a range of creative approaches in their work?
As the job is challenging, Pash describes the importance of hiring mentally tough candidates who are already resilient, with their own coping mechanisms and a personal network. The programme places groups of participants in the same location to help build a professional network and they receive weekly supervision as a group with a more experienced social worker, where they discuss cases, problems, potential solutions and risks, and challenge working assumptions.
These strategies build on research by Louise Grant and Gail Kinman (2013) at the University of Bedfordshire. Their work looked at factors that enhance resilience in the helping professions. These include:
- Supervision: In many helping professions, regular supervision is key. This gives a safe environment where individuals can think about their work, discuss issues with which they struggle and discuss their emotional reactions.
- Mentoring and peer coaching: Conversations with others who face the same challenges make a difference. Feeling part of a peer group, developing social connections, gaining positive role models and coaching through successful tactics support emotional resilience.
- Mindfulness and relaxation: Mindfulness incorporates meditation, yoga and relaxation training. Mindfulness has been associated with increased compassion for self and emotional resilience, so much so that it is being introduced in some UK primary schools.
- Discussion of case studies: Case studies and role plays can open up discussion on problems, decision-making and difficult emotions in a safe environment.