"Prior to studying at Goldsmiths, I had worked as a senior personal banker for nine years. I had also worked in various volunteering and paid roles in children and adult social care and was an active participant on a school governing committee.
When I started my Access to Social Work course at Lewisham Southwark College, I didn’t want to go anywhere other than Goldsmiths, because of its diverse and inclusive community. I also knew that the Social Work department had an excellent reputation amongst Social Work professionals across London.
Goldsmiths teaching and learning approach was innovative, the academic side of the course was highly stimulating and varied, and lecturers and tutors were supportive in enabling us to make links between theory and practice.
The course was interesting yet challenging, demanding and thought-provoking. It also offered a succinct balance between self-learning, seminars, lectures, and input from teaching consultants and service users. It was designed to give you the best opportunities to debate and learn theory then how this links into practice.
The range of course modules offered were carefully planned to enhance our learning. The modules were also designed to further our capabilities in all areas of the Professional Capabilities Framework and to further our knowledge and skills outlined in the Knowledge and Skills Statement for Practice.
Along with the academic knowledge, placements also offered an essential part of practice development. Goldsmiths is part of The South East London Teaching Partnership with London Boroughs such as Lewisham, Southwark and Royal Greenwich Children’s and Adults’ Services. This strong link, as well as the commitment of the placement coordinator has meant that over 85% of students are offered two quality statutory placements.
My first placement was with the Looked After Team in Southwark and final placement with the Children With Disabilities Team in Royal Greenwich. The placements required comprehensive multi agency risk and needs assessments, collaborative working with families and other professionals, good case management, undertaking purposeful visits and keeping the child central to your work; these were all vital to meet the children’s outcomes and minimise the risk of drift and delay.
The team structures and effective management oversight as well as having fantastic placement practice educators who were very knowledgeable and affirmative with a constructive approach all fostered a very positive, reflective and meaningful learning environment.
My positive experience at Goldsmiths played a very large part in shaping my career path, in terms of solidifying my theoretical knowledge, analytical and research skills and in demonstrating my ability to link theory and research into practice.
This direct experience has improved my confidence in working as part of a multi-agency and with service users, to undertake assessments and to apply principles relating to risk assessment. I learned to develop skills around reflective practice which has definitely aided my social work development along with a critical understanding of anti-discriminatory practice.
As a mother to three young children, I had to be regimented in my learning approach. I enjoyed acquiring new skills and positively taking on challenges. This was made possible due to the invaluable and unconditional support from my friends and family especially my dear husband as well as my children who had rooted for me unwaveringly on my learning journey to become a social worker and I offer my gratitude to them for their patience and strong conviction in me.
I graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Social Work in 2017 and it has been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my life. I loved it. Being taught by passionate and knowledgeable lecturers helped me to recognise research interests in areas of child protection and child abuse which I aspire to pursue through a PhD in Social Work.
The whole course has opened up a lot of options within the broader context of social work practice, education and learning. I have also secured a job post qualification within the Safeguarding and Family Support Team in London Borough of Southwark.
The social work course was challenging but also very rewarding and as my extended essay supervisor told me upon completion of the degree ‘Rebecca, the world is your oyster’.
My advice to new students is not to panic and enjoy the journey - you are in a learning environment and so go to lectures, enjoy yourselves, invest in your learning and don’t be afraid to ask for help should you need it. You can achieve anything you set your mind to and positively engaging in student life at Goldsmiths will nurture the opportunity or ability to do so."