Bettering lives

For the people: Social work is pure evidence-based knowledge derived from research to bring change in the quality of life of individuals


The lowdown


Social work is a professional and academic discipline which focuses on improving the quality of life of an individual, groups or community as a whole. A social worker can get employment both in the public and private sector. There are many positions such as that of a child development project officer, integrated child development services, in the directorate of social welfare. One can also work in the directorate as a welfare officer. Those enthusiastic about reaching out to others can work as family welfare counsellors and medical social workers in medical colleges and hospitals, etc. Those intrested in the private sector can join the corporate sector as HR managers, industrial relations officers and personnel managers, etc. The civil society employs social work graduates in NGOs, international NGOs, trusts and non-profit companies. One could also work in UNICEF, WHO, and UNDP

Clockwork
9am: Go to office
10am: Go to the field; interact with people
12 noon: Meet outreach workers
1pm: Quick lunch
2pm: Design training programmes
4pm: Prepare and review reports
5.30pm: Work on a new project
6.30pm: Meet the staff, discuss plans for new project in slum areas
7.30pm: Leave for home

The payoff
Entry level: Anywhere between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000 a month
Middle level: Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000 a month
Senior level: Anything between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh a month

Skills/TRAITS
* Basic knowledge of human behaviour, society and its systems
* You should have good listening, observation and counselling skills
* Social work needs action with involvement and commitment, it’s your zeal that matters
* Resilience and stamina for doing work in adverse conditions

Getting there
A bachelor or masters degree in social work is required to be a professional social worker. Students with a background in economics, political science, sociology, history, psychology and philosophy can also become social workers. A doctorate is an added advantage. In many countries, you need a license to practise social work

Institutes and URLs
* Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
    www.tiss.edu
* University of Delhi
    www.du.ac.in
* Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi
    www.jmi.nic.in
* Madras School of Social Work, Chennai
    www.mssw.in

Pros and cons
* A highly rewarding career
* Work schedules are erratic; witnessing the deplorable conditions others live in could be frustrating or depressing
* Pay packages are less attractive

There is a lot of scope in this profession for people who want satisfaction with their job -- Vikram Singh Verma, chief operating officer, Smile Foundation

 

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