Mr Alexis Dery, Vice-President of the Ghana Association of Social Workers, has said there is the need to license the social work practitioners in the country.
He said this would not only help regulate the practice and training of social workers and weed out the unqualified ones but also place higher standards on the practitioners.
He said social work was a global profession and that its principles, ethics and standards were the same; just that the context of the practice was what varied from country to country depending on several factors including historical experiences and social problems which required the attention of social workers.
Mr Dery said this in his presentation at a Career Fair organised by the University of Ghana’s Department of Social Work Alumni Association in collaboration with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ).
The event, held under the theme: “Connection to Your Future”, registered over 500 students from several departments including social work, psychology, sociology and political science.
It provided an opportunity for students to acquire knowledge and skills in terms of how they prepare themselves for the world of work.
Topics treated during the Career Fair include; current dynamic of the labour market; professional appearance and grooming; and career clinic (CV, cover letter and interview tips).
Speaking on the topic “Social Work: Career Pathways and Job Prospects”, Mr Dery described a social worker as one who by vocation, education and training has fitted himself/herself for a professional occupation within a private or public institutions/sector engaged in enhancing the wellbeing of individuals, groups, communities, policy formulation, programme designs and evaluations.
He said the need for professionalisation would make practitioners more accountable to themselves and more accountable to the service users; and as well safeguard public safety.
Mr Dery, who encouraged the students to grab opportunities with the social work space, recounted that gone were the days when social work was given to people, but it has now become competitive.
“So, if you choose social work and you are given the course, you should actually develop interest, you don’t just see it as one of those courses; and that is why am saying you are training globally but you practice locally.
Mr Dery said currently there were lots of demand for social workers within Ghana and beyond, hence the need to empower themselves to justify your relevance in a fast changing world.
Mr David Yawo-Mensah Tette, Senior National Coordinator at Ghanaian-German Centre, which is being operated under GIZ, said social sciences in the various universities produced the largest number of graduates unto the job market.
He said there were several opportunities around however graduates could only take advantage of them they prepare towards, adding that “you must be interested in these fairs and try to interact with prospective employers”.
Mr Tette urged students to embrace internship and voluntary work as they were regarded as work experience adding that students must embrace internships and learn the requisite skills needed for the job market.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Professor Mavis Dako-Gyeke, Head of Department of Social Work, University of Ghana, said the career fair created an avenue to engage them and also let employers and other stakeholders have discussions with students.
She urged students to take advantage of such initiatives, also tasked academic institutions, especially heads of departments to link students with potential employers, so that students would know what was awaiting them when they graduate from school.