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BSc (Hons) Social Work

What to expect on the selection day

On the day of your interview, you will be invited to attend a number of welcome talks that take place on Microsoft Teams Live. You will be sent an email with all the relevant information of how to join these virtual meetings as well as those important dates and times. This email will also contain contact details in case you encounter any issues on the day.

You will also receive an invitation with a specific time slot for your individual interview that takes place after the welcome talks. Please ensure that you take note of this time. The invite will have a “Click here to join the meeting” link which is usually located near the bottom of the email, to join the meeting just click this link approximately 5-10 minutes prior to your allotted time in case you experience any technical issues, and your interview panel will then join you at the scheduled time.

What to expect during your interview

The selection process for Social Work will consist of three elements:

  1. A written task
  2. Interview
  3. Group discussion

1. Written task

Prior to your interview date you will be tasked to write one paragraph, no more than 250 words about your thoughts on the testimony from 'Alice'. The testimony is based on a person with lived experience of using health and social care services.

Testimony from 'Alice'

Testimony from ‘Alice’ (not her real name) who has experience of being a ‘Looked After Child’.

One of the more negative experiences whilst in care came from my first placement. I was 12 years old and I had just decided to put myself into care to help alleviate some stress from my maternal grandmother’s shoulders, as the situation saw her in a position of danger due to my maternal mother. I thought it would be best for me to remove myself my hometown. However, I wished to stay at my current school, so I commuted every day.

I only visited once before moving into the placement and spent one birthday and one Christmas there and I can honestly say, it was horrid. I was a young girl, removed from her home, from her family, from her brothers, and her town. Whilst in care, I was never made to feel like a member of the family and was continually subjected to telling’s off, punishments, and uncomfortable situations to try and make myself a member of the family. During the year there, I had approached social services about moving back to my Granny. I had asked my Granny if I could move back to hers, as I didn’t like it there. I didn’t receive the support emotionally or physically I needed as a traumatized child. I was told to stick it out for a year. I can’t go into everything that happened during this year, so let me touch on a few points.

At the house, I was only ever allowed in the front room at the same time as my foster carer. If I was in there, it was her TV, her choices, her shows. I never saw her bedroom either, that door was locked each day and night and I was never allowed in there at all. Looking back, this was for privacy, but I still felt unwelcomed and rejected as a child.  I wasn’t allowed to be at home alone, at all, so after school, if my foster carer wasn’t in, I had to go to her parents’ house, who I didn’t know well, and I wasn’t truly comfortable with.

When I first moved in, I had very long hair, and during the first month, the lady told me I was unable to care for it and demanded I have it cut. It was a big change, as I hadn’t ever had a full haircut, only trimmings, and my hair was important to me. I wasn’t given a choice, I was guilted into it. This was one of the only things I still had about MYSELF that was removed almost instantly by going into care. It hurt, a lot. Comments were made about everything I did, my hair, my weight, my food, everything. I felt judged and uncomfortable in a place that was meant to be my home.

I was only able to get out of that situation when social services approached me to say I either had to move schools or move homes, and I chose to move homes. But at 13, that was again a big choice to make. I wish I had more support during that time, that I could have felt comfortable to talk to social services about how uncomfortable and unwelcomed I felt in that house, as many of the issues I faced then have influenced me to this day, in a lot of aspects of my life.

This piece of writing will be used to assess your written communication skills and should be of a good standard. Please submit this via email to hswrecruitment@staffs.ac.uk by 5pm the day before your selection day.

2. Interview

The focus of this part of the day is to ensure that you reflect the values of the University and the Social Work profession. We don’t want you to be nervous about this – we don’t use ‘trick questions’ at Staffordshire University. You’ll do well in our interview if you come with good answers to the following three questions:

  • Why do you want to become a Social Worker?
  • What do you understand the role of a Social Worker?
  • What have you done to prepare for the Social Work course and for your future as a Social Worker?

Your interview is an opportunity to tell us why you want to start your journey to becoming a Social Worker here with us at Staffordshire University. It is also time for you to show us what skills and experiences you have had previously that have shaped you into the person you are today as well as demonstrating why these skills will aid you on your path to becoming a Social Worker.

The interview usually lasts approximately 20 minutes and will led by an academics from the Social Work department as well as a current student and/or service users. We are a values-based organisation, and we want to see that your values align with that of the Social Work profession. 

3. Group discussion

Following your interview you will be invited to discuss your thoughts on the written testimony with a member of our Service User and Carers Group.

How to prepare

During the selection process we will be looking to see:

  • Your current understanding of profession.
  • Who regulates us as well as our professional responsibilities?
  • What qualities we as social worker should demonstrate.
  • What challenges you feel you may encounter and how you may overcome these.
  • How have you prepared yourself?

We know that interviews can be a daunting event however good preparation is key to helping you show us why you would make an excellent social worker. This may take different forms for each of you, however some good ways to prepare are to research the profession you want to join.

Points to note:

  • Good interpersonal skills are vital when you are looking to engage in a career which involves working with vulnerable people. 
  • We would like you to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm by commenting in your interview on your experiences and any reading you have undertaken around contemporary social work, anti-discriminatory practice, and social justice.
  • You will be asked to complete a declaration of good health and character, which will allow you the opportunity to inform us of any health/social concerns or criminal convictions that we need to be made aware of.  Anything you declare will be discussed with you at a later date.
  • Ideally, you should be a car driver or aim to have passed your test and have daily access to a vehicle by the start of your final level 6 placement at the latest.

Take the opportunity to demonstrate your:

  • Ability to relate your knowledge, skills, values, and experiences to the Professional Capabilities Framework (Point of Entry to Training Level).
  • Your commitment to the academic and professional requirements of the course.
  • An awareness of the impact of discrimination and diversity.
  • A consideration of how social workers might work with service users to promote their safety and wellbeing. 
  • Awareness of professional ethics and the ethical dilemmas that social workers might face.

Interview advice

  1. Dress appropriatley

    Dress smartly but be comfortable – you might not need a suit, but smart trousers/skirt and a shirt/blouse will show you're taking it seriously.

  2. Arrive in good time

    Give yourself plenty of time to attend – have our contact details handy so you can let us know just in case you're delayed.

  3. Body language

    Watch your body language – don't slouch, yawn or fold your arms – stay calm and alert, sit up straight and make eye contact.

  4. Expect the unexpected

    Don't worry if you don't understand – ask them to repeat or rephrase the question, make a good guess, or relate it to something you know better.

  5. Ask questions

    Ask us questions too – this shows enthusiasm and gives you chance to get answers you haven't found yet.

The UCAS website has more general undergraduate interview tips.

Although our selection days will be delivered virtually we want to ensure that you have an opportunity to visit the campus. As well as our Open Days, we'll be hosting bespoke campus tours in future, which you'll be invited to attend.

Open days

Stoke-on-Trent campus

Stoke-on-Trent campus

Stoke-on-Trent campus

Stoke-on-Trent campus

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck and we look forward to meeting you on your interview day.
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