Reflections from a Consultant Social Worker

While reflecting on my experiences as a consultant social worker within the teaching partnership, I’ve been struck as to how much I have experienced in the last 13 months and how much we as a team of consultants have achieved. 

When I first started there was some apprehension as to what the role would entail as I had had no previous experience of teaching or training.  Gradually, as the role developed I was able to experience various teaching environments, working with students in Keele and Staffordshire Universities as well as supporting workforce development by facilitating Work based supervisor training. Although each new experience proved challenging, I felt that I was able to deliver sessions effectively and with increased confidence.   

Before I started with the Teaching partnership I was working in Adult services for SSOTP.  I was working mainly in hospital discharge but I also had experience of working in Reablement services.  I originally qualified as a social worker from University of Central of England in 1995.   Since then I have worked in various Adult teams both in community and hospital settings. I have worked mainly in Staffordshire apart from three years working in a community Adult team in Stratford upon Avon. 

Since 2008, I have been a Practice Educator and have supported students from a variety of universities from the Midlands area.   In 2009, I gained the Practice Educator award and have since had experience of supporting and mentoring other candidates working towards the award. I had always enjoyed working with students and I was keen to develop my interest in Practice Education.  The opportunity of working with the Teaching Partnership seemed the ideal role in developing this interest.  

Although the main focus of the role has been the teaching and training, I have also been involved in various projects including the development of a Social Work Apprenticeship programme, promoting the Voice of Lived Experience and contributing to an insight report on Social Work Training and Education within the Teaching Partnership.   I have supported the academic programmes at both keele and Staffs Universities by contributing to selection days, assessment panels and readiness for practice panels.   Both universities have valued the practice experience of all the consultants and we have had positive feedback from students. 

One of the other projects I worked on, was arranging a conference to celebrate World Social Work day.   Various guest speakers included Mark Doel (Sheffield Halam University) Laura Biggart (East Anglia University), Jill Manthorpe (Kings College London) and BASW spoke at the event as well as contributions from Cheshire East Service user group, Jason Smith from City Voices and an Art project facilitated by the Cultural Sisters Art group.   The event was attended by 205 delegates and was a great success.  We received some fantastic feedback from the day.

The last 13 months has been challenging but it has been a great opportunity to build on previous knowledge and learn many new skills which I hope to be able to use in my on-going Social Work career.  I would recommend this role to any Social Worker interested in develop their interest in Social Work Education.

Mick Baker - Consultant Academic Social Worker

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