Isabella Ali

Isabella completed the pilot of the programme in 2016 after a four year career break


Everybody has their own personal story as to why they left social work practice and now wish to return. The Return to Social Work programme ultimately provided me with that possibility after a four year career break. It catered for a high number of my learning needs and enabled me to think about the gaps which needed to be addressed before returning into practice. Initially when I began the programme, I was still unsure about the direction I would be taking in terms of my career path and timing. After completing the programme, I was armed with refreshed knowledge, renewed momentum and motivation, and for the first time, an informed plan regarding my journey back.

Being equipped with this newly acquired knowledge gained through attending seminars and reflective practice workshops has changed so many of my attitudes and behaviours as a social worker. I will now be entering into social work with a renewed respect for working within particular models and theories; and applying these concepts into my practice to enable me to better serve, protect and advocate for those I will be working with. Most noticeably, my confidence has increased dramatically. I now feel more empowered and stronger in my capabilities as a social worker and I am eager to continue to learn more in order to raise my competencies further. I have realised that in being committed to my own personal and professional growth, I too am showing a commitment in giving the best of myself to the children and families I will be working with.

A year later, I still feel very privileged to have been part of the Return to Social Work programme. I can’t believe I’m even writing this, but I have just been successful in gaining a social work position within a referral and assessment service, not as a social worker, but as a senior. I feel I owe much of this to those who firstly believed in me by giving me the opportunity to be part of the Return to Social Work programme and secondly, to the fantastic seminars, coaches and reflective exercises which allowed me to rediscover my skills, strengths and confidence. I can truly and wholeheartedly say that the experience has been both life enhancing and life changing, and I wish others the best of luck with their own personal journeys back into social work.