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Gone are those days when social work was about rich married women trying to find something to do with their time and money. Social work is an upcoming career prospect today and MSW seems to be the thing to do.

From The Experts
Elita D’Almeida, a student of MSW from SNDT University says, “MSW is a course that helps you to form a basis of theoretical knowledge in terms of course work and also helps you to put that theory into practice in your field work projects. The field work is an added brownie point to the course as it helps you realize the practical ups and downs of such a career. It also opens your eyes to a lot of new issues you were totally unaware of. The negatives of a career in social work are that it can get very unpredictable at times. It requires you to be very flexible in terms of time and there is no fixed schedule or working hours. You also have to be very adaptive to circumstances and work with what you have.”

“We prefer MSWs to work for us because the theory they study and the kind of exposure they come with is exactly what we’re looking for. They have a sound understanding of society and its issues. Also, they gain a sense of maturity which is essential for such a job. The payment is according to the performance of the employee. They are initially put on a three month probation after which we analyze and decide on a permanent job profile. These three months are more like a learning process for the employee and we judge the person’s performance, adaptability and compatibility with others,” says Nikunj from PETA who holds an MSW degree himself.

Nirja Bhatnagar, HR Manager of HelpAge India says, “We are an NGO and for our activities, we take only MSWs on full time basis. We prefer MSWs for the background and exposure they gain from the two years they have spent doing the degree.”

A final year student from TISS says, “Doing an MSW course not only helps you attain theoretical and practical exposure but also reconfirms your inclination towards social work when you’re looking for a job. The fact that you’ve spent two years rigorously studying the subject and gaining exposure in the same, means a lot to recruiters who see this as proof of your seriousness and commitment to the cause.”

“The MSW course is equipped with a range of competencies to work in the field of social work, social welfare and social development. The nature of work covers a gamut of interventions from service delivery to organizing people for change, to program development and influencing policy. CRY does not believe in charity, nor do we run schools, orphanages or dispensaries. Instead we partner grassroots-level NGOs working with children, their parents and communities and it is here that we feel the skills and knowledge from the MSW course will enhance CRY’s rights-based approach to make sure every child has all the rights that hr or she is entitled to,” says Pearl D’souza, Manager, Human Resources, CRY – Child Rights and You.

MSW is Master’s in Social Work. An MSW empowers you with a professional social work degree and provides you with a theoretical structure and practical field work experience in various NGOs.

What’s all the fuss about?
The MSW programme is designed to equip students with theoretical knowledge about social work, social welfare and development concerns and help them to develop skills and insights into working with people at the individual, group and community levels. Out of the six days a week routine, you have lectures, discussions and presentations on four days and practical field work on two days, every week. So, by the time you’re done with this course, you’re all ready to change the world!

The course covers all possible dimensions of social work. Family and child welfare is one such area where you learn the theoretical aspects of dealing with broken homes, women and children from broken homes, orphanages and juvenile centres, counseling and rehabilitation required. Medical and psychiatric social work is where you study about counseling and rehabilitation for the mentally disturbed. There is also urban and rural community development which teaches you about issues related to urban communities like environment related issues and rural communities related issues like water conservation, education of female child, etc. Criminology is another aspect where you learn about rehabilitation for prisoners and human rights. Another upcoming area is disaster management – dealing with both natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and also man-made disasters like terrorist attacks, where you will study in detail about such issues and how to tackle them.

After all that theory in the classroom, you need to apply it somewhere right? Here’s where they provide two days of field work in connection with an NGO. Here you work as a volunteer in the NGO assigned to you and help them in every possible way like with day to day administration and work, organizing events, collecting funds, etc so that you get the practical feel of social work and what it entails. Some of the places where you get field work placements in Mumbai are Akanksha, Sion Hospital, Arthur Road Jail and Chembur Spastic Society.

Why do MSW?
If you’re wondering why you should get an MSW degree when you can do social work without wasting two years on a degree, here’s your answer. MSW is a professional course. It gives you a background and knowledge basis of how to be in the centre of activity and work in organizations full time. When getting into social work as a professional career, most recruiters look for a MSW tag to your name.

To be able to enroll yourself for an MSW course you have to have a bachelor’s degree in any course of any stream. Though, a BSW is ideal, a BA will also do and if you have a BA in sociology or psychology, then nothing like it! BSW is Bachelor’s in Social Work. BSW is offered in Nirmala Niketan and Mumbai University.

Where do I do this course from?
There are a few reputed institutes in Mumbai to do your MSW from. TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) is considered the best place in Mumbai for MSW. SNDT is another very good university followed by Nirmala Niketan. Mumbai University also offers this course.
MSW courses abroad are certainly far better and opportunities provided in terms of a prospective career are also sunnier in UK and USA.

Where is the money?
When you’re looking at a career option, you’re obviously looking at the money. You must be wondering, how can I get paid for doing social work? Well, here’s the deal. With an MSW degree, you can work in any NGO full time. Nirja Bhatnagar, HR Manager HelpAge India says, “The starting salary for a fresher with an MSW degree is around Rs 10,000 per month.”

Nikunj from PETA says, “The average salary given to a fresher here is around Rs 16,000 – Rs18,000 per month.”

You can also work in Government sectors as a policy reformer or in the social welfare sector.
“The starting salary via a placement would be around Rs 10,000 a month minimum,” says Elita D’Almeida, a student from SNDT University. A good offer also exists with corporates giving you a pay package of about Rs 3-4 lakhs per annum.
Another upcoming field is microfinance where companies help groups of people to establish their own business.

Last but not the least, corporates these days are looking for people with an MSW degree to specially handle their CSR projects and also work in their HR departments. “Around Rs 75,000 crore is set aside by JSW Steels for CSR activities. For these activities, we do recruit MSWs for the post. The starting salary is between Rs 3-3.5 lakhs depending on the job experience and the location of work,” says Vinay Ranjan, AGM recruitment, HR department, JSW steels.

The growth opportunities are tremendous in such fields. Starting your own NGO is one sector and that is a booming career today. Another prospect is scaling up the corporate ladder. CSR has a lot of hype today and most companies seem to need guidance on how to go about feeling charitable, so you can lead the way!
To get more information about MSW and the future career opportunities you can log onto the official websites of TISS (www.tiss.edu) and SNDT Women’s University (www.sndt.ac.in ).

So if you’re considering a career in social work, you may want to consider an MSW degree to help you along!

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