Rhys - Social Worker, Rhondda Community Mental Health Team

How long have you been in your job and what did you do before?

I have been in my job for a little over three years, however I have been a practising Social Worker for just over six years. Before working in RCT Council I worked for a different local authority and a different service area. Before qualifying as a Social Worker I had a variety of jobs including retail, hospitality and construction before spending five years as a technical support officer in a telecoms company.

I decided to look for work in the social care sector as I felt it was time to look for a career and felt that a career in social care had the potential to be a very rewarding choice.

What does your job involve and what is a typical day like?

My job is fairly varied so it is difficult to describe a typical day. I work with a number of individuals who are under the care of secondary mental health services and I act as their “Care Co-ordinator”; responsible for co-ordinating the care and support they receive from mental health services in the local area. This involves visiting them (or ringing them as has been the case over the past few months due to Covid-19 restrictions) and building a relationship with them in order to find out what is important to them and what they want to do in life, before trying to reach an agreement with them about how we as a service can support them to achieve these goals. It can also involve visiting people on a regular basis to monitor their  overall mood and wellbeing and look for signs that they may be struggling to cope with things.

Another part of my role involves organising help and support at home for people who are finding it hard to do things for themselves. I am sometimes responsible for arranging for carers to visit people at home and help them with day to day tasks to make sure they can carry on living in their own home for as long as possible. Sometimes people need more support than can be provided to them in their own home, so another part of my job involves looking for suitable accommodation for people and helping them to apply for it and move into it if necessary. I am also responsible for completing assessments with people who have been referred to us by their GP. This involves meeting with people and having a conversation about their lives and how their experiences have led them to feel the way they currently feel. I then need to make a recommendation about whether they need support from our service, or whether they would benefit from support from somewhere else such as a charity or local community centre.

I am also a qualified Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) and am on “AMHP duty” a number of days each month. On these days I am required to be available should someone request an assessment under the Mental Health Act 1983/2007 and am responsible for making the necessary arrangements for the person to be seen by an AMHP and two doctors to determine if they meet the criteria for detention under the Mental Health Act. This is commonly referred to as “being sectioned”, although I try to avoid using this word as much as possible. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the job as it often involves seeing people who are going through a really tough time, so it can be very challenging for all involved.

What’s the best thing/s about your job?

My team, no question. My team is by far the best thing about my job. I feel very fortunate to work alongside such a passionate, determined and welcoming group of people.

What attracted you to apply for a job with RCT Council?

Initially it was the convenience of living and working within the same local authority, having travelled a substantial distance for my previous job. I was also attracted by the relatively competitive salary and the positive feedback I had received from my peers who had worked for the council in the past.

What positives have you experienced in your career with RCT Council?

I have been given a number of opportunities to improve my professional development since joining RCT Council.

Since starting employment with RCT Council three years ago, I have been able to gain an additional professional qualification and am about to start university to work towards achieving another. I have found that the opportunities available have been plentiful and staff are actively encouraged and supported to develop their skills and knowledge.

What is the best thing about working for RCT Council?

For me the best thing has been the opportunities for professional development that are available within the Council.

What would you say to someone thinking of applying for a job in social care at RCT Council?

Go for it.

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