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Internal News - 11 October 2005

Full-time students settle in at Oakfield

The first intake of full-time students have been settling in at Oakfield. The students, all from the Swindon area, are studying for a BSc in Social Work & Applied Social Studies.

Run in partnership with Swindon Borough Council, the course means that for the first time students are able to train and practice in their local area.

“It’s great to be able to train locally,” said Mel Bristow, aged 31, one of seven self-funded students on the course. “I have wanted to retrain for ages and had been looking for suitable courses but the closest I could find was Oxford – that’s just not feasible with a young daughter.

“It’s really exciting to be here. It’s a bit of a culture shock to be studying after working for years but we’ve got loads of support here.”

The other seven students are on secondment from Swindon Borough Council. Sophie Green, aged 27, has been working for the council for 4 years:

“This is a great opportunity for career development,” she says. “I’ve been working in a day centre with the disabled for years but this course placements enable me to get experience in different areas.

“It’s been really good so far and I like the campus - it’s spacious and friendly.

Louise Brown, Social Work Degree Coordinator, says: “Swindon has struggled to find and keep enough social workers, which has put a strain on existing services.

“This new degree will mean that local people can train for this challenging and rewarding career in their own area.”

“The course is a full-time three year programme with a mixture of taught sessions and placement experience. We’ve had a great response so far – we’re full this year and have received lots of enquiries for next year already.”

The University’s Social Work Department was rated the best in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2005.