This is a tribute to young social workers. Some of them are still very young. They are in the SPRING of their lives. We need them! Because of their fresh views. Because of their open-mindedness. Because of their love for the profession. Because of their compassion for their customers.

Dutch Social Worker of the Year 2018

On March 14th in my country, The Netherlands, Sjef van der Klein was chosen as the Social Worker of the year 2018. He is 26. Still very young and in the springtime of his life. Passioned and positive. As Sjef there’re many more young Social Workers. I have met Sjef before in one of my training programs. And fortunately, I meet more and more young Social Workers nowadays when I’m giving a training or workshop.

What I notice is their positivity regarding our profession. Their willingness to do everything their customers need. Their primary focus is on their customers. And they are sensitive when it comes down to the environment they operate in.

Senior Social Workers

I admire them because they often work in organizations with mostly older Social Workers as their colleagues. In my country, the average Social Worker is older than 40. And when you’re in the field for years and years you might recognize a feeling of exhaustion. Older Social Workers are more skeptic about the profession and sometimes have lost their passion. And hey, I’m 55 so this is not an accusation but more to let you know that I get it 😉

Young Social Workers have to deal with this. Have to cooperate with these senior Social Workers. Have to gain trust and create an environment where they can grow. They have to tack between ‘been there, done that’ and ‘lets do this’. But when young Social Workers and older senior Social Workers join forces some power might emerge.


Young Social Workers are updated with our new internet society. They feel comfortable with their computers and mobiles which will give them access to knowledge and connections. They don’t get disturbed by old structures and paradigms about hierarchy and power.

Young Social Workers are our future Leaders of Change. They can create a better world. With one tweet to a local alderman. With a compelling story on Facebook. They become ‘friends’ with the mayor. They act in a vlog with a counselor. They are not afraid to experiment. They are entrepreneurs at heart.


Young Social Workers. We need them. Let us celebrate, cherish and encourage them. I’m very proud of Sjef van der Klein, Dutch Social Worker of the year 2018 and 26 years old. Who is that young Social Worker that you are proud of? Please name him or here in the comments below!


  • Hesham Elbaz

    Thanks for the article, it was refreshing 😊

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