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Case Study

Michelle Dias

South Shields, UK

BA (Hons) Social Work

Michelle Dias has undergone a real journey to get to where she is now; after being medically discharged from the army, volunteering for Victim Support and working as a support worker, she is now studying for a BA (Hons) Social Work degree and thriving. She is looking forward to her future career in social work and making a difference to people’s lives.

The University of Sunderland was always my first choice. When I attended an Open Day I was impressed with the warm welcome I received and the information provided. The Programme Leader was on hand throughout the day to talk through the course in more detail and when they mentioned the course’s small cohort, I knew that there would be plenty of support and opportunity for group bonding.

When I left school I joined the Army which had been a dream of mine, but I had to be medically discharged after a serious knee injury. I was devastated. Volunteering for Victim Support helped me refocus and the experience of supporting victims and survivors of crime made me realise that a career helping others would be right up my street. I then began working as a support worker for a charity and became the children and families project manager, responsible for a team of family support workers in Kent (where I lived at the time) and the London Boroughs of Southwark and Tower Hamlets.

I decided to move back to the North East a few years ago and I started working as a family services coordinator for a charity, but as it was only funded for a fixed time, I made the decision to come to university and train to become a social worker. I felt it was the right time in my life to consolidate my experience and build a career with more long-term, diverse opportunities.

I love that the course has been developed in partnership with a range of key stakeholders, including service-users, carers and social work agencies. Having the opportunity to practise essential communication skills with visiting service-users has been great for my personal development.

I would highly recommend the University of Sunderland to other students. It’s so supportive, with excellent opportunities for personal growth and development. The lecturers are all qualified social workers, bringing their real-life experiences into the teaching, and they are approachable, passionate and knowledgeable.

I would tell prospective students to make Sunderland their first choice and get stuck in! I am having an absolutely fantastic time and thoroughly enjoy the course.”

Published 30 January 2020

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