University of Winchester graduate shortlisted for national social work award

14 Oct 2021

A University of Winchester graduate has been shortlisted in a prestigious national award scheme for social workers.

The Social Worker of the Year Awards take place annually to celebrate the achievements of practitioners and teams in the profession across the country.

Lucy Collier, who is a graduate of the Step Up to Social Work programme at Winchester and now works for Portsmouth City Council as a disability social worker, has been shortlisted for the Student Social Worker of the Year Award. The category is open to all university students studying social work who show outstanding potential, surpass expectations and showcase a thorough understanding of social work theory and practice.

Lucy originally trained to be a teacher but had a particular interest in children with disabilities. She decided to re-train as a social worker instead. She joined Portsmouth City Council through the Step up to Social Work programme, a government initiative, set up by Social Work England, which is designed to support those who graduate from training into employment.

In her role, she has been proactive in developing relationships with specialist schools in the city to enable better partnership working as well as supporting families who require respite as part of their care packages.

Simon Jobson, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Winchester, said:
"Congratulations to Lucy on her nomination and her fantastic achievements in her work for Portsmouth City Council since graduating from the University of Winchester.

"Our Step Up students undertake placements across the South, thanks to our close collaboration with local councils. This combination of employment and academic experience leads to the development of confident, highly-skilled and reflective practitioners, like Lucy, who are ready to work effectively and safely in social services."

Lucy said: "When my colleagues told me I had been shortlisted, I couldn't quite believe it. It's an incredible feeling to be recognised. Portsmouth is such a great place to work, partly due to the team spirit and mentoring I have received through Portsmouth City Council and the University of Winchester."

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said: "Since launching Stronger Futures, we are passionate about recognising our social workers who do a fantastic job supporting the city's children, young people and families. We felt it was important to showcase our amazing colleagues in this national awards ceremony.

"Lucy joined us on the Step Up to Social Work programme and is excelling in her role. I would like to congratulate Lucy on being shortlisted for this fabulous award."

Following the completion of the programme, Lucy became a disability social worker in May 2021, drawing upon her own experience of supporting someone close to her. This shaped her values as an individual and her desire to help others in similar situations.

Sarah Daly, Director of Children and Families at PCC? welcomed the news: "It's amazing to see Lucy being recognised for her immense efforts to support the city's families. She has made a significant difference to their lives, supporting those who need it through the pandemic. Her commitment to children with disabilities has been outstanding, completing her placements with enthusiasm."

Winners in the Social Worker of the Year Awards will be announced on Wednesday 17 November as part of a special virtual awards ceremony broadcast live from London.

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