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Interview With Jacob* – One Of Our Social Workers

*name has been changed to protect identity.

At Portman Recruitment, we truly believe that our people – both social workers and team members – are what make our agency one of the best out there. As evidence of this, we recently sat down with Jacob*, one of our shift line social workers, to learn more about his experiences so far, what he enjoys about his role, and the ways in which Portman supports his career.

‘’I currently work at Bradford Council as a shift line worker, and will shortly be moving to Calderdale Council. My role is varied: I assess and recruit foster carers to look after foster children; I carry out initial visits; I go to recruitment fairs; I do formal and in depth assessments of potential foster carers to check their suitability.’’

We asked Jacob to tell us more about what that involves…

‘’I contact potential foster carers who have shown interest by applying, attending open evenings or through word-of-mouth. I’ll then arrange a home visit with regards to the applicant, to better understand why they want to foster, and what they can provide for the child. They may have personal circumstances that we need to address and consider how we as a service can help facilitate and accommodate to their needs alongside what they can bring to the service. We do a lot of assessing work, researching into applicants by way of a DBS check, medical check, gaining references and having discussions with the children themselves.’’

…and what the highlights of his job are…

‘’Each day is different and I like that. I like getting to interview lots of different applicants and learn about their personal circumstances – something which is deep and personal to them and information that they won’t share with their employer, neighbours or friends. It’s very private and confidential information that we discuss. We look at their history. Also, we actually get to know them through the assessment process and we can see whether they’re going to be a good applicant to become a foster parent, or whether they may need some further development and further training. We also make recommendations in regards to the applicants too. It’s a very important job which I take very seriously.’’

…and how he finds a good work/life balance….

‘’Balancing work life is all about planning and pre-planning. For example, if I have a deadline for the end of the month – I try and do that by the 20th. That way it gives me a bit of flexibility in case there’s an emergency call. I’m also very conscious of events in the evening (e.g. informational evenings and those that recruit potential foster carers). It’s a busy job, staying up to date with workloads, having regular supervisions and peer discussions. However, I find that using my online calendar really helps me manage my time, both professionally and personally.’’

…and about his journey with Portman so far…

‘’It was word of mouth. The current authority that I’m with, has an agency worker that was already with yourself and he promoted you to me and highlighted Portman and how they work in a very effective and positive manner. He told me how you provide support and assistance and how you find the highest rates, better than some of your competitors, so I thought Portman were definitely worth checking out.

Georgia – who I’ve been liaising with to get my current position – she has been especially helpful. She’s been available whenever I need her and it gives me great comfort knowing that there’s someone there. In the past when I’ve had an enquiry, she’d done her best to get back to me promptly and swiftly. She also always lets me know dates and times of interviews as well as in advance as possible, enabling me to prepare for the interviews. She then calls me to see how the interviews went, and gains feedback from the interviewers quickly too. She also gets great feedback from the local authorities that I apply to as well.

At this moment in time, I do feel comfortable and confident, with regards to the support I have so far received from Portman.’’

…and what makes us stand out from competitors…

‘’There’s a lot of things to appreciate about Portman. You get a friendly service with the advisor that’s allocated to you – they are contactable through various means – for example WhatsApp which I find very convenient, as well as calling and emailing.

Portman also really know their stuff, and have good connections with different organisations and authorities and have job availabilities as well. They have a wide variety of roles available which sometimes other competitors can’t always provide.’’

…and how supported he feels…

‘’My interactions with Portman have always been good and I’ve not had any issues to date. Whenever I’ve had a query that has been out of their remit, such as a local authority making a decision, they have been subtle and prompt in approaching them and obtaining my answer for me. Portman are always available, and the few instances in which I’ve left a voicemail they’ve always gotten back to me the same day. I’ve never had to recall or chase, and I’ve never been left worried that they won’t get back to me either.

In terms of the main ways in which they support me: they make sure that when a contract ends that there is an appropriate or suitable position available to go into straight after; They give me updates in relation to job opportunities that are available; They plan ahead and look at any issues that may arise in current or future employment.

These factors are all key to why I’m with Portman. If you don’t have that with the agency that you’re with, then you don’t have the confidence in them to support you during difficult or challenging situations, which as any social worker knows, can arise quite regularly.’’

…and whether he’d recommend us to other social workers…

‘’Yes. I did actually recommend Portman to a social worker friend who works in a different authority. They are looking to enrol with Portman in the future.’’

…and lastly, the advice he would give to those social workers who are just starting out…

‘’Take the plunge. You know what, if you’re thinking about it, do it. That way, you don’t regret it. If it’s in your mind, why hold out? Just enquire about it and ultimately, worse case scenario, you can always leave. I will say though, that Portman has been a great help in my career development and I’m very grateful for all that they’ve done for me. I doubt there’s a better social work recruitment agency out there.’’

Thank you Jacob! If you’re looking for the next step in your social work career, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today on 0161 327 0936 to learn more about who we are, what we do, and our great range of roles available in your local area.

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