World Social Work Day – Cath Millen

Madeline Neeson
By Madeline Neeson
Group of people with arms around each other
To celebrate World Social Work Day we interviewed some of our Social Work academics about the social work profession and this year’s theme: ‘Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind’.

Read our interview with Social Work lecturer, Cath Millen.

What inspired you to become a social worker?

I went to university and completed a degree in Political Theory but at the age of 21, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in terms of a career. I spent the next few years teaching English as a Foreign Language, living in Greece and Spain but came back to the UK (I’m British) to settle down. I was very interested in social justice and human rights, particularly for those in minority groups who faced oppression on a daily basis. I was inspired by a friend who was a social worker and decided that this was what I wanted to do.

What is the most rewarding thing about the social work profession?

For me, the most rewarding thing about being a social worker is being told that you have helped someone make positive change in their life.

What does this year’s theme: ‘Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind’ mean to you?’

It makes me feel proud that social work is a profession that aims to ensure that no one is left behind. It values diversity and is committed to working not just with individuals but trying to change the world! In these times where we are seeing the destruction of the planet, it feels important to harness our collective power to achieve change.


What piece of advice would you give to those wanting to pursue a career in social work?

Make sure that you have strong personal boundaries as this is a career that can be all-consuming if you are not careful. It is important to leave work behind- both for yourself n dot be able to maintain your energy for the next day.

What has been the highlight of your social work career?

My highlight has been implementing strengths-based social work in Camden (London) and helping to move away from looking at what people can’t do to focusing on what they can do.

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