Solemn declaration to guide social workers on their professional journey
The second-year social work class of the North-West University’s (NWU’s) campus in Vanderbijlpark recently took part in an oath taking ceremony.
This annual event was attended by amongst others, Prof Alida Herbst from the NWU’s School for Psychosocial Health Sciences, members of the academic fraternity, representatives of the Gauteng Department of Social Development, professional social workers as well as the parents and peers of the students. Some of the guests came as far as Botswana to attend the event.
The ceremony involves students taking a solemn declaration to honour the social work profession and to always adhere to the ethical code of the profession as stipulated in the Social Service Professions Act (Act 110 of 1978, as amended).
This year saw Dr Yolinda Steyn, a professional social worker and the founder of Solace Support Service – an online support service developed especially for individuals and families impacted by spinal cord injuries – delivering the keynote address.
Dr Steyn told the students that, since they are going to undertake to at all times conduct themselves in a way that will be to the benefit of the social profession, clients, colleagues and practice organisations, they need to do introspection and have clarity on the agreements that they – by means of the solemn declaration – will be making with themselves. She furthermore challenged the students to think about how this declaration will influence their lives in order to be effective social workers with the necessary integrity and passion.
Dr Steyn explained the significance of the solemn declaration by means of four agreements. These agreements are:
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Always do your best.
She concluded her address by congratulating and thanking the students for their choice of profession and explained the importance of the role of the social work profession in society. “The public expects high quality, responsive services delivered by well trained and competent social workers and rightly so. Remember the four agreements and let it guide you on your journey.”
Dr Yolinda Steyn.