National Competition Win for Star Social Work Student

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Holly Clarke

(Reposted from Staff News)


A Lincoln student has been named as a winner in a national competition hosted by the UK’s Social Workers Union (SWU).

Holly Clarke (30) was selected as one of just four winners in the World Social Work Day Essay Assignment Competition, which invited undergraduate students from across the UK to answer the question: “Working Better Together: How do we build stronger relationships between social workers and people using services?”

Holly, who only began her studies on the University of Lincoln’s BSc (Hons) Social Work degree apprenticeship programme in September 2019, received £500 for winning the competition.

She said: “I am very excited to have my essay recognised in this way. Social workers operate in a constantly changing environment and the ways that we practice have to advance accordingly. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated these changes and social workers have had to adapt their practice in a way that could never have been envisaged. Social work students are in a unique position to ensure that the learning from the pandemic is taken forward into the practice of future.”

Jon Dudley, British Association of Social Workers (BASW) Hon Officer and member of the Austerity Action Group, was one of the assignment markers. He said “It’s been a great privilege to have the opportunity to consider the diverse range of entries to the SWU Essay Competition. 2020 has been an extraordinary year in so many ways. Some of the entries have reflected on the impact this has had, both on the social work profession and on the way, we relate to the people we work with. My thanks go to all the contenders and of course huge congratulations to the winners.”

Holly’s essay will be published in the BASW 50th anniversary celebrations book planned for December 2020.

Dr Janet Walker, Lead for Social Work and Deputy Head of the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Lincoln, added: “We are delighted to hear about Holly’s very well-deserved achievement. Holly’s essay is exceedingly well considered and pertinent in challenging customary modes of practice, and positioning social media and the use of technology as an effective social work communication tool of today and tomorrow. Her work demonstrates the importance of creating future social workers who are able to innovate and challenge.

“Holly is an Apprentice with Lincolnshire County Council Adult Services on our successful Social Work Integrated Degree Apprenticeship, a new pathway to achieving a degree in social work while gaining ‘on-the-job’ experience to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviour required to be a competent social worker.”

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