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Sarah Beck

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Academic Director of Apprenticeships

As Academic Director of Apprenticeships, I have responsibility for academic leadership and development of apprenticeships provision across the University. I work closely with colleagues in Learning and Teaching, Quality, and Commercial Training Services to ensure that our apprenticeships meet the requirements of the complex regulatory frameworks that underpin them and to enhance the experience of apprentices on all of our programmes.

I joined the University of Sunderland in 2018 as Associate Head of School with responsibility for Social Work and Community and Youth Work Studies. One of my first tasks was to lead the development of the social work apprenticeship programme in partnership with regional employers. This has become one of the largest apprenticeship programmes in the University and its development sparked my interest in apprenticeships as a model of professional education which aligns closely with the University's values. Five years later I was delighted to be given the opportunity to take on the new role of Academic Director of Apprenticeships. 

I remain a Registered Social Worker and worked in social work education in the north-east between 2008-2023, after 15 years of practice experience in the field of mental health.


I am currently undertaking doctoral research into the use of apprenticeships as a model for social work education.

I am also a co-investigator on a UKRI-funded research project exploring the role of mentors in social work apprenticeships.

  • Apprenticeships
  • Social work ethics and values

Last updated 28 February 2024