Before university, I was a drug, alcohol and mental health worker across the North East region for 14 years. I started looking for social work degrees and began looking at the universities and colleges in the local area, so I could commute easily. I decided that I wanted to study for the BA (Hons) Social Work degree at Sunderland, as through my job I had the opportunity of working with placement students, and the students from Sunderland seemed far superior in organising themselves and preparing for professional work, had strong interpersonal skills and a good foundation of knowledge in the areas required. I was also keen on the smaller cohort and class sizes.
The best part of the course was the challenge and the approach to social work. The tutors were able to give me time and guidance when it was needed. One to one tuition was by far the most helpful support I accessed, as well as the support I received from the Wellbeing service when I was referred for a dyslexia test.
During my final placement, I managed to secure employment as a social worker in a different local authority to the one I was placed with. This role has enabled me to put my experience, knowledge, and theory into practice. I’m currently planning on focusing my training attention on safeguarding and trying to specialise in the area following the completion of my Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE). This will enable me to hopefully progress to the level of Practice Educator, so I can keep personal and student learning within my practice. Following this, I plan to apply for the Approved Mental Health Practitioner whilst specialising in substance misuse services.
My advice to future Social Work students is to know what social work involves, research the area you think would be interesting and identify the role of the social worker. Consider the ratio of one to one work alongside professional meetings, court work and other responsibilities. Know what you are applying for. Grab every opportunity and get involved with the university experience – once you finish you will miss its influence and will be planning your return!
I would definitely recommend the University of Sunderland to other students. My time here can be summed up as challenging and rewarding, and I am proud to have studied here.”
Published 3 November 2020