Emma Grady

Healthcare Support Worker and Student Integrated Practitioner

I am currently a mature student at Edge Hill University. I am enrolled on the Integrated Mental health nursing and social work Masters programme. This programme will equip me to become a registered mental health nurse and a registered social worker. My choice of course was influenced by my belief that service user outcomes can be greatly improved by taking into consideration both the medical model and social model of health, providing a more holistic view of an individual’s circumstances.

For the past ten years I have worked in various mental health and social care settings that have provided me with a wealth of experience in different environments. My main areas of employment have been for the NHS in secure forensic settings. Throughout this time, I have continued with various professional development opportunities including Diplomas in Social work with children and families, Health and social care, Mental health and Social care and Access to higher education in Social work.

I am already actively involved in BASW and have attended many conferences across the country to increase my knowledge and network with other professionals. As president of the Integrated Nursing and social work society at Edge Hill University, I actively promote members and other students to become members of BASW and to attend these valuable and informative events.

I am currently an active member of the Student and Newly Qualified Social worker PPEG for BASW and have taken the opportunity to co-chair at the Student and NQSW Conference 2019 for the group. I value being a part of this group as it ensures I am informed of current issues and allows me to actively engage with others and help shape the future for other student social workers.

I am keen to ensure that social work activism and professional unity starts from the beginning as a student social worker and continues throughout a lifelong career. I firmly believe that it is needed now more than ever before, especially with the increasing workloads and demands placed upon current social workers. I value the importance of human relationships and as an ‘expert by experience’ know that relationships are crucial to the outcomes of the service user. This is an area I am very passionate about.

I believe that being an effective leader and instilling hope in others, is both crucial for students and qualified social workers, for it is these qualities that can promote and create change for the better. As a potential candidate for the BASW England committee I aim to encourage student social workers to have a voice and speak up for what matters to them. To address positive experiences in education and practice experiences but also to help change and create solutions to negative experiences.  I champion diversity and believe that social work students from all backgrounds need to unite together at the beginning of their social work journey to ensure healthy and positive relationships with one another, therefore strengthening social work as a profession.

Areas of Interest/Practice:

·Mental Health

  • Integrated Care
  • Substance misuse
  • Service user collaboration
  • Experts by experience
  • Suicide Intervention
  • Public health
  • Relationship based social work

Skerntian Keri

Social Worker Student

I am currently a student at University of Wolverhampton, taking a MA Social Work Degree.  At the same university I have completed my undergraduate studies in Criminology, Criminal Justice and Sociology.  Previous to this, I have studied Law at University of Bologna, Italy.

I discovered the importance of Social Work during my time as interpreter in London and West Midlands, working in different settings that gave me a real insight of the impact social workers could have on people’s lives.  I believe social work is a main pillar in today’s functioning of the society due to its role to promote social change, social cohesion and empowerment of the people.

I believe in representation and institutional engagement, and I would to be elected in this committee, in order to have my input by being an effective voice for students, which have decided to dedicate their careers to such noble profession.  I would focus on actively supporting students to draw the best experience from their courses, promote a more closer relationship between BASW and students and actively promoting this profession that is often underestimated but it brings real change to people’s lives.

During my academic studies, I have always engaged with student voice, and I have been and currently am student course representative.  Further to this, I am currently the chairman of a local association.  Coming from a law background, I have used my legal knowledge to help online with advice on welfare, schooling, housing and access to health services.  As an interpreter in Lye, Stourbridge, I had a significant impact in promoting the rights of Roma community and building their trust with the health and early help services.

I am already involved with BASW as member of the PPE group for Students and Newly Qualified Social Workers, and I am ready to commit to this position because I believe much more could be done to enhance social work education, in order to prepare and equip the future social workers with the necessary set of skills and knowledge before registering as qualified social workers.

I would champion with BASW the following issues: advocate for the creation of a universal fair and meritocratic system of bursary allocation to students, students mental health, placement experience, support from universities to mature students, bring students closer to BASW, student self-care and resilience, and promote gender diversity in social work.

If elected, I am committed to try to transform BASW image in the eyes of the students not just as an association, but also as a home, an accessible home where they could feel free to come, engage and seek for advice without the slightest hesitation or fear of not being heard.

Areas of interest/Practice:

Child Protection, Family Law, Autism, Mental Health, Equality of Opportunities, Educational Attainment, Politics, Human Rights, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, Class Structure, Immigration, Asylum Seekers/Refugees.

Enya Richards

Children’s residential support worker

I have worked as a support worker in both children’s and adult’s residential settings. This has given me an understanding of the differences between the two sectors. In both roles I supported people with varying needs and abilities, such as, mental health, leaning disabilities, substance use and homelessness. These roles have offered me CPD in areas of medication administration, therapeutic approaches, safeguarding, relationship-based practice and in depth understanding of specific mental health conditions. However, the access to funding and services to support both service user groups differs dramatically in Plymouth. With a strong reliance on the voluntary sector to fill the gaps in services for adults. I had to be creative in my role, drawing upon my knowledge, skills and networks to ensure that I was doing everything I could to support the people that I was placed with.

Further to this I have volunteered with a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, both with their adult and young people’s teams. This gave the opportunity to develop working relationships and understanding of services in Plymouth. I was not involved in assessments, however, took lead in activities and participated in therapeutic sessions. I was also involved in a benefit advice group as my time with the organisation coincided with the rollout of universal credit in the city.

I also volunteered for a local charity supporting refugees and asylum seekers in the south west, I would work on their campaigns and fund-raising efforts. I went to Northern Greece after the closure of the Idomeni camp to take aid and offer my support. In my time there I ensured that the people’s voices were heard, advocating to ensure that any work was person-led. From this, I facilitated the development of a women’s space and helped build a portable library which travelled between camps around the city of Thessaloniki.

Plymouth University have offered me plentiful opportunities to develop my skills and knowledge. Through placements and international opportunities. Before my placement with adult social care I held assumptions that statutory social workers were agents of social control. However, this experience supported my learning that it is the creativity of the individual social worker as to how they engage in the care vs control debate. I was fortunate to observe high quality, rights-based practice which has inspired me to reflect upon my position of statutory Social Work. Secondly, my social care placement gave me a controlled environment to explore relationship-based practice and assessment tools.

Furthermore, through the university, I attended an international days in Social Work conference in Austria. Where I worked with colleagues from across the world to consider challenges for Social Work’s future. I facilitated group work and gave presentations on the topics.

All of my experience has helped me to solidify my learning from the teaching of my first year. Supporting my development into a reflective practitioner, working from a rights-based, person-centred, strengths-based perspective. Enabling me to build effective working relationships, both with service users and other professionals.

Areas of Interest/Practice:

I went into my Social Work studies with a firm idea of where I wanted my career to progress. I had been working within humanitarian aid and wanted to gain a more informed knowledge base, and a more respected professional identity to support people displaced from their homes. I held firm views that I did not want to work in a statutory setting and felt sure that I was best placed in the voluntary sector. However, as I have progressed though my studies I have recognised the importance of diversity and creativity within statutory Social Work, and when on placement have seen how practitioners can enact social change through their positions. Through my working experience and time on placements I feel that I am leaning towards a career in adult services rather than working with children. I have developed an interest in areas of practice related to substance use and in criminal justice. However, I go into every learning opportunity with my eyes open and I am sure that throughout the next two years of study and my career I will develop interests in other areas of Social Work. I believe that my main drivers are championing social and environmental justice, and these are two of my core values that I will take into any area of my practice.

I am interested in social action and have an activist personality. I attend Social Work Action Network meetings and hold a book club and groups related to the network in Plymouth. Furthermore, I am aware of the importance of law and policy within Social Work practice and this has become a growing interest of mine. With a shift toward looking at macro rather than micro Social Work practice.