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Joanne Gosling - Level 6 Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

"I have worked in social care for many years. I have never been able to afford university and have been focused on work and on bringing up two children. As a Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) user, I had very poor access to education as a child and my specialist Deaf school believed that Deaf adults could only do low-skill employment like factory work. We were never given any encouragement for higher ambitions. My children have now grown up, and my case load has grown more complex. When I saw Derby City Council’s advert for social work apprenticeships, it seemed a brilliant opportunity to do training that I have been thinking about for a long time."

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

"My current job role of Community Care Worker is already benefitting from the additional skills and theory that I am learning on the Social Work apprenticeship. When I am a qualified Social Worker, I will look for a job that is at the right level and uses the full range of my skills. I want to develop specialisms in mental health and safeguarding, to be a Senior Social Worker in the future."

How would you rate the teaching and support staff on this apprenticeship?

"I have found the teaching excellent. It has been a learning curve for both myself and the staff because it is my first time at university and their first time teaching a Deaf BSL user. They have learned a lot about the barriers that I face and some of the adjustments they need to make.

The first year was very challenging because we were still under lockdown and most of the lectures were online. The course leaders have been such a good source of support and contact for any difficulties, as has my mentor from Derby City Council."

My current job role of Community Care Worker is already benefitting from the additional skills and theory that I am learning on the Social Work apprenticeship.

What is your favourite thing about your apprenticeship?

"Learning from other students has been my favourite thing so far. I have enjoyed the variety of the lectures, covering all aspects of social care. I have also come to appreciate the value of law as key for ensuring people’s rights are respected, particularly with regards equality, which is a passion of mine. I am about to start my first placement, so that may be my next favourite thing!"

What skills and experience have you gained as part of this apprenticeship? Has there been anything that you were not expecting?

"I have learned to consciously choose theories and models of social work that best empower people. Thinking about social worker ethics and human rights within different frameworks enables me to take a step back to look at what is working and not working for service users. I was not expecting social policy to be so fascinating!"

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

"I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship as it gives you a second chance to re-take some of the basic skills like maths and to develop your analytical skills. It is perfect for people who can’t afford university studies in the normal way and have developed their skills and knowledge on the job.

I would advise people to go for it. You have nothing to lose. Be aware that it is a lot of work and you need to be very motivated and able to organise yourself well."

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