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"I was nominated by some students who are proving to be excellent Social Workers"

I honestly slipped and fell into this job. There is a great deal of pressure lurking in my subconscious to talk about how I have spent my life yearning to provide support and learning to students, and this yearning led me inextricably to this, my ultimate profession and that now I intend to dedicate my life to the cause. No, I fell into it.

I wanted to be a practice teacher and had previously been a link worker. In my ancient history I had also been an NVQ assessor, so I did have some form. I applied for the practice teaching qualification because I was interested in practice teaching and wanted to teach. I remember bumping into my predecessor in a corridor shortly after I completed the award and asking if I could take two students a year rather than just one. Given the amount of time I now spend trying to cajole practice teachers into taking students, I understand why she looked slightly perplexed.

I completed the award and supported a student. Then a job was advertised; a twelve-month secondment for Practice Teaching and Development Officer in The Practice Learning Team. I had worked in and around Children and Families for fourteen years and I didn’t really want to leave. After a lot of pondering I surmised that a year out might be good for me, so I applied and was successful. Due to a combination of retirement and promotion, within a few months of my arrival, The Practice Learning Team had reduced to being just me, cycling around Dumfries with a phone and a laptop. I was beginning to suspect that this secondment might not be a temporary thing.. 

I was nominated for the award by some lovely students who are proving to be excellent Social Workers. I’m proud of them, and all of our students. Practice Placements provide stress, drama, existential crisis, tears and exhaustion before the students emerge as fully fledged Butterflies. Its an honour to be able to hold the rudder for them as they navigate those stormy waters.

So here we are, nearly two years and 65 students on, your (award winning) hero is still pedalling around Dumfries, plying her trade and things are looking up. We are expanding, we are promoting the cause, and making a significant impact on recruitment and retention through demonstrating to students that Dumfries and Galloway is a good place to be. We have produced a fair few award-winning students and practice teachers over the years, so I am in esteemed company. I hope that this award will consolidate our success and maybe prop the door open for others.