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Finding my purpose

A blog post by Roz, a Professional Development Officer for Shropshire Council


I have worked in social care most of my working life. I started as a carer in a large establishment in Northumberland when I first left school. I then took some years out trying out other types of work, but in my early twenties I went back to working in care and now live and work in Shropshire.


I have worked for Shropshire Council for over 30 years, starting as a carer; I loved working with people, and finding out who they are. There is a saying that education is wasted on the young (attributed to George Bernard Shaw), and it was certainly the case for me. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realised I could do more. Therefore, I started working as a social work assistant, then trained as a social worker. I was lucky enough to have my employers sponsor me to complete my social work degree, so have a strong loyalty to the authority. I understand how lucky I was, and because of this I think I had a commitment to support others who were often not as lucky as me.


My placements were all great, and my Practice Supervisor and Practice Educator helped in my development in their own ways. Again, realising how lucky I had been, I wanted to give back, and as soon as possible started supporting Social Work students. I also realised that I didn’t want to become complacent in my practice; having a SW student stopped me from doing this. I’ve now been a PE for over 10 years, and have had at least 1 student each year, although this has increased over the last 5 years. Every student is different, and I learn so much from them, and hopefully they learn from me. I’m a very calm person, so give the students stability and encourage them to step back and think and not always react too quickly.


I was surprised when my manager let me know she was nominating me for a Social Work award. We went through the application together, and as someone who doesn’t always see the positive impact I have on the people I support, it was lovely having this pointed out. What was most humbling was hearing the testimonies from the students, Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSW), and managers I’d worked with over the years. This was enough for me, and it made me feel like a winner. Therefore, what’s happened since has been an added bonus.


Attending the Social Work award event was great. I went with my manager who nominated me, and we got to see people in person (who we had only previously seen over the computer screen). It was a great event with lovely food, and I was stunned when my name was read out as winning the silver award. Reading the testimonies from my colleagues, and winning the award has helped me realise what people appreciate about me, and what I am good at. I felt very blessed that I’ve had such good support over the years to help me develop. I also understand that I need to carry on striving and developing to continue to give the support Social Workers and NQSWs need. I know there are better Practice Educators out there, so let’s get nominating to ensure they too feel the recognition they deserve.


Roz' manager, Tamsin said this about her:

I nominated Roz for this award as I thought that it was important to recognise and celebrate excellent practice. Roz is our ASYE lead and works as a Practice educator for both student SWs and NQSWs. She is highly valued within the Local Authority and has had a significant impact on individuals and their development which has, as a result, impacted on both recruitment and retention. I asked people to send in a number of supporting statements which they were kind enough to do.
It was lovely to hear from people who we provide a service to, staff, students, NQSWs, and academic colleagues. They all told the same story; of someone who was steeped in social work values, who was reflective, supportive, thorough, kind and fair. I also thought that it was important to celebrate the work which Roz has done on challenging oppression and racism. I was able to provide examples of the work which she has done within her sphere of influence, and the changes which she has made to the ASYE. In the words of the many people who supported this application ‘I cannot think of a better candidate’.
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