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Jennifer Fawley - Level 6 Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship

Jenny Fawley, 33, is passionate about social work and making a difference to the lives of others. Applying for an apprenticeship with Nottinghamshire County Council has enabled her to pursue her ambition of being a social worker Jenny states, “I value the lived experiences of the teaching staff on the apprenticeship. Not only are they able to share their knowledge of social sciences, but they are also able to relate this to experiences they have had with families”.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

"I completed my first degree in Early Childhood Studies in 2009 and have always worked with children and families. My passion has always been fuelled by the need to make a difference to those I work with. However, it came to a point where I wanted to progress in my career, and this meant I would need to consider further training opportunities. In my previous role as a social work support officer I was able to see first-hand the role of a social worker and what it entails. I felt I had something to offer and explored different options, but it would mean a significant reduction in my salary.

When the apprenticeship was advertised a manager within my team encouraged me to apply. The apprenticeship meant I was able to pursue my ambition of being a social worker whilst earning a salary and remaining with my current employer."

What stands out about NTU?

"For me, one thing that stands out it is my course leader. Having been a previous student at another university I don’t recall having the same student/ tutor relationship that I do now. Emma Reith-Hall is always available to support if needed and is always suggesting or recommending further learning opportunities. Overall, the teaching staff are all very skilled in their field and their passion for social work shines through. I have found many of our tutors are highly thought of in their field. The university has a whole has a wealth of resources and support available. This is inclusive of not only learning, but also more tailored individual support around personal issues."

How do you believe this apprenticeship will affect both your current job role and future career?

"I believe the apprenticeship is the starting pathway to what I hope to be a rewarding career in social work.

I am currently a ‘social work apprentice’ and I am already gaining a wealth of experience from being able to put in to practice the learning from university straight into my role in work. I have the added benefit of working with qualified experienced social workers who have took me under their wing. I am being exposed to different situations and it is giving me a real taste of what it will be like to be a qualified social worker. I am then able to use these experiences when we are focusing on certain topics in university. In addition, I can see the many career paths being a social worker can lead to but for now, qualifying as a social worker is plenty."

I value the lived experiences of the teaching staff on the apprenticeship. Not only are they able to share their knowledge of social sciences but they are also able to relate this to experiences they have had with families.

What is your favourite thing about your apprenticeship?

"My favourite thing about the apprenticeship is being able to make the link between what I have learnt in university and the work I am doing in work. I don’t have to wait for my placement to start – I am learning on the job. I particularly like it when I get those “a-ha!” moments and the learning and practical side just slot in to place."

What advice would you give to someone considering a higher/degree apprenticeship?

"You are about to enter a new chapter of your life, where you will have the opportunity to take on new challenges and forge yourself a career, all with the support of the university and your employer. There will be challenges ahead but those challenges might as well be in something you’re passionate about. You have so much to offer – invest in yourself!"

To learn more about our apprenticeship courses, please contact apprenticeships@ntu.ac.uk.

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