Master of Social Work 2001
I had previously been a press photographer for 15 years. I had worked towards doing a Social Work degree by doing a lot of voluntary work over the years. I had thought about the change of career for a long time and my friends and family thought I was mad and I didn’t know any social workers! I was very disappointed not to have got in to Edinburgh University the first year I applied (1998). I re-applied the following year and was successful. I also had a 12 week old baby by then so it was an interesting and exhausting time to be doing the MSW.
I loved every minute of the course. I had two good placements with very good practice teachers, one in a Children and Families Team in Edinburgh and one with the Sikh Community in Leith. I would like to have had another placement with adults. I had a very supportive tutor, Mairi Allan. My favourite part of the course was when social workers came to give us a case study. I remember how shocked we all were at some of the scenarios that were presented and the outcomes that could be achieved from such complex situations.
I have worked as a Children and Families Social Worker since qualifying in 2001. I have worked in four different local authorities and am currently in my 6th year with Scottish Borders Council. I had kept in touch with Mairi Allan as I am a Link Worker so we have had a few students from Edinburgh Uni in our office. There has been a lot of change in social work since I qualified….the electronic systems, procedures, Girfec I have done the usual post qualifying courses. The Graduate Certificate in Child Care and Child Protection and the Introduction to Family Therapy have probably been the most useful, used over and over again.
Looking ahead? I would just want social work education to provide as much practical experience for students as possible, to support students to understand how to put an assessment together, to learn the skills needed to negotiate their way through the systems and procedures that can at times seem very difficult.
Source: own contribution (30.1.2017)