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Warning…this may be boring to anyone who is not a social worker interested in working in the UK. I just thought I would do a timeline of the process of finding a social work job in the UK for anyone interested. My hope is that this can make it easier for someone else, but I don’t know if that is possible.
Spring 2006: I sell my business and begin thinking if I even want to be an interior designer anymore. The decision is that I do not. I begin to research my career options and come across the Master of Social Work program at EWU. Through this research I discover that there is a drastic shortage of social workers in the UK, especially MSW’s, and they actively recruit from outside the UK.
Fall 2007: I start my program, and begin to inquire about the process of finding work in the UK. The best thing I ever did was to locate (actually Eric did) an American social worker working there who had done the same thing I wanted to do. She was more than helpful during this process. Around this time, I discover that I must register as a social worker and that this process can take up to 16 weeks. The governing body who registers social workers is called the General Social care Council (GSCC). The GSCC requires social workers to fill out a 2 part application including an extensive work history (since leaving high school!). I ordered 2 copies, one practice, and one final (the rumor is that even though they have an online application, people have run into trouble, and trust me you don’t want trouble here). So once you have filled in the forms, you must write a statement which proves that you would have demonstrated knowledge of the UK’s core competencies (much like the United State’s NASW’s, only worded in a very confusing way). So, I was told that I would only need to write a one page statement since my school is accredited. The part that was confusing was the evidence. One person told me that I would need to only include my degree posting, but nothing on the GSCC’s website told me that that would be sufficient evidence. I decided to write one page, but also include all of my class syllabuses, a letter of recommendation from my employer, and a few other relevant pieces. IMPORTANT: If you include class syllabuses, you must have clean copies, so don’t write all over them in class! Now I had to take all of these pieces of evidence and have them signed, dated, and certified as true copies of the originals by a senior member of the staff at my school. This was a mess. No one wanted to do it; the dean avoided me like the plague. I finally emailed a board member who sent me the name of the person I should ask. I asked her, we made an appointment, she (after I drove all the way to campus just to do this) told me that she didn’t have time that day, so we rescheduled for the next week. She complained the entire time and it was uncomfortable, but I got all of it signed. The GSCC then asks you to pay 155 pounds (almost $300) for this service, which must be paid in Sterling. My bank did not understand what I meant by “British currency.” I went to a larger bank and ended up transferring my account there in order to get a bank draft in British funds. Oh, it’s not over yet! I finally have everything in the big envelope which was specially purchased for this stack of paperwork. The post office says, “we don’t send anything internationally which weighs more than 3 ounces, you have to go to the main branch.” At the main branch, I paid $35.00 to ship this.
Spring 2008: The house is sold, my GSCC application is in, I am hooked up with quite a few job recruiters, and now I wait for approval. I can’t apply for jobs until the GSCC approves my application, so I sit and I wait.
Late Spring/Early Summer 2008: I have passed all of my classes and my oral examination. The GSCC has informed me that they require official transcripts with my degree posted. I beg the school to speed up my degree posting since this usually takes three weeks after graduation. They have agreed to do this, but I don’t know…the GSCC tells me I could wait up to 16 weeks for this registration to be completed, so I wait. I soon become tired of waiting (like after an hour) and start to try to find a way around all of this red tape. I find out that if you are offered a job the GSCC will move your application up. I ask several recruiters about this, they seem ready to help me. I have an interview in July for a council in London. The interview is being held in Atlanta, GA. This is actually good because it will cost wayyyyy less to fly there than London. On the other hand, I would rather go to London….more to come.