Health and social care - student stories
Julie-Anne Howard, Trainee Social Worker
What experience did you gain in order to get into social work?
I have been employed by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) since 1994 and have worked in a variety of areas within the organisation - secretarial, finance and client services, all of which have stood me in good stead.
What are you currently doing?
At present I work in the Elderly and Physical Disability team where we aim to help people from the age of 18 upwards. It is a diverse and demanding role. I work as a part of a team alongside colleagues, all of whom play such an important part in supporting each other and providing services to the local community. My role enables me to work in an anti-discriminatory and non-judgemental way with other professionals in the team, with colleagues from the health services, voluntary sector organisations and advocates. Together we aim to achieve the best outcomes for the service users and their carers, helping them to become empowered and independent wherever possible.
Why did you choose to study social work?
The opportunity to study arose when HCC offered sponsorship for the social work degree programme with Open University. I applied and was successful on the second application. Studying again came as a bit of a shock to me, since I’d never achieved more than an ‘O’ Level at school, then later gained a further qualification as a part qualified accounting technician. However, it has been a gradual process beginning with Open University’s K100 Health and Social Care Certificate. Since then the time has flown and now I am a final year social work student.
What benefits have you gained from your studies?
I am part of a proactive and supportive tutor group. We have been together for three years, and have helped each other with such a variety of expertise and have become good friends. Our tutor is knowledgeable, passionate about social work and supportive to us all. I know I have grown and changed as a person and I believe I am more self assured and confident in my work as a result. I am really looking forward to qualifying at the end of this year and being able to call myself a Social Worker. And as for the future, I look forward to the challenges and rewards that I have found in no other career.