Social Service Worker Essentials
While there are many skills that students can learn in a Social Service Worker program, such as the one offered at Centennial College, there are qualities with which students should already come into the offering. For example, as a Social Service Worker deals with vulnerable facets of the community in settings such as shelters, community centres, group homes and advocacy coalitions, he or she must be compassionate and a good listener. Secondly, because a Social Service Worker performs specific tasks, for multiple clients at the same time - such obtaining government funds, offering guidance and counseling to people in crisis, arranging foster homes for children, and beginning legal action in cases of child abuse - good time management and organizational skills a necessity.
Meanwhile, at a Social Service Worker program, students gain a whole other range of skills that will see them succeed in the field. Applicants are required to have completed an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Students must also have completed the compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent; attend a program admission session and offer proof of English proficiency. As the Social Service Worker program features a field placement component, a criminal reference check might be required. Certain criminal convictions may disallow placement in an agency and program completion may not be possible.
Here are five standout courses that - when combined with experiences in assessing communities, developing and writing funding proposals, social action plans as well as simulated client interviews and assessments - ensure students are ready to apply for Social Service Worker positions right upon graduation.
Fundamentals of Interviewing and Counselling: This Social Service Worker course also paves the way for the third semester Advanced Interviewing and Counselling course. Students master approaches including problem-solving, task-centered casework, and crisis intervention methods. Communication and interviewing skills are introduced and explored in greater depth during the follow-up course.
Power and Social Movements: Because a Social Service Worker must know his or her social history, this course provides a Canadian historical perspective to explore the relationship between the structure of power and the rise of social movements challenging the inequitable distribution of power. The focus is on the social, economic, and political facts that impact the distribution of power in Canada - that is who has power and who does not and why.
Social Policy: Another Social Service Worker course that paves the way for a more advanced course in semester three, this undertaking sees students become familiar with social policies and legislation from the context of practice in the area of legal accountability, standards of practice, civil and legal responsibility and as the primary response by government to social problems.
Power, Privilege and Oppression: Because there are certain groups who are more likely to be clients of a Social Service Worker, this course examines the social, political and economic forces that contribute to the oppression and marginality of particular groups within society. Students look at the relationship between social inequality and being a social service recipient, and become familiar with the social, political and economic construction of marginalization.
Field Placements: To round out the Social Service Worker program are two field placements in the third and fourth semesters that allow attendees to apply what they have learned in their courses to the real world. These experiences will further allow them to evaluate the strengths and limitations of the social service system.