Finding my passion for social work
There are lots of reasons why I chose to do a social work degree; both personal and professional. I always felt that I was good working with people and felt that I wanted to be able to support people of whatever age and make that into a career.
For about 12 years I had worked in housing and homeless work and decided that I wanted to get a professional qualification which would open opportunities for me in the future; either in housing or social work or some other area where I can support and help people to be the best they can be.
I knew that a degree in social work would be something I would be passionate about.
Choosing academic study whilst raising children
It was a challenging decision to choose to study a 3-year degree at this time for me as I had 3-and-a-half-year-old twin boys and an eight-year-old daughter.
Not only did I study and write essays, but I also had to juggle 200 days placement over the three years. At times, my partner would work away from home and looking after the children meant that it was quite hard.
I found that the key to my success of completing my degree was not only having a good rhythm to my week to balance juggling my course, studying and family time, but also having a fantastic partner who supported me by taking the children out, enabling me to have that concentrated time I needed to write essays and do essential reading for the course.
I was also fortunate enough to be a Roper scholarship recipient which was not only additionally helpful financially but also helped to boost my confidence and self-belief.
Studying at the University of Bath
The BSc (Hons) Social Work and Applied Social Studies course can be demanding not only academically, but also personally, as sometimes the course can touch on things from our lives that some can find difficult.
I enjoyed many things such as learning about the profession that I was about to go into to, making new friends of all ages, finding my identity as a student, a social worker and as an individual and most of all getting excited about the career ahead of me. I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering it!
In addition to my studies, I also had the pleasure of volunteering as a mentor for The Gold Scholarship, where I advised and supported students on a one-to-one basis with everything from studies to skills and sharing experiences, so that they could achieve their full potential.
How my placement shaped my career prospects
During the course many people had an idea of what they wanted to specialise in post qualification. However, I never knew what I wanted to do and to some extent I still don’t!
My final placement was with Wiltshire Council in their Safeguarding and Assessment team and from there I interviewed for a post. However, despite not having any vacancies I was offered a post in the Looked After Children Through Care team which is where I have been ever since!
Supporting asylum-seeking children
In the last 3 years I have specialised and am now working with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from countries such as Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, and Vietnam. My role can be very challenging at times and involves case holding and overseeing a young person’s needs such as education, health, and emotional well-being, while supporting them through the asylum process which can be very stressful for these young people.
I love learning about new cultures, supporting young people to get their leave to remain, and helping them to achieve good educational outcomes. I have enjoyed building relationships with some amazingly resilient young people.
At the moment I am unsure what I want to do long term or where I want my career to go, however, I am very interested in starting a social and therapeutic horticulture project at the council for our looked after children. I believe, and research shows, this would have enormous benefits to their physical well-being while also helping to promote good mental health.