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The first cohort of Social Work Degree Apprentices recently graduated from University Centre Shrewsbury providing much needed skills into the local workforce. The graduates are all employed by either Shropshire of Telford and Wrekin Children’s and Adults Services in their Social Work teams.

The graduates included Jessica Churms who said: ‘’Work based learning meant that we immersed ourselves in education whilst still earning in our chosen career path.”

Chris Sheldon added: “I can’t recommend the Apprenticeship route more as it fitted to my learning needs and gave much needed experience while learning at the same time” and Vicky Pugh said: “you will have up days and days you just want to give up but throughout it all, you will be supported by fellow apprentices, tutors and work colleagues to overcome the challenges and persevere to becoming a social worker and start making positive changes in people’s lives.”

Becky Popsys added: “The Apprenticeship allowed me to use knowledge and skills learned within lectures and implement them into practice.”

The Social Work Degree Apprenticeship offers the opportunity to complete the social work qualification whilst working within a relevant social care setting. To be accepted onto the apprenticeship students need to be in work with the employer supporting them to undertake the course.

The course offers the opportunity for students to develop relationships with their fellow apprentices, university staff and a range of people who will support them in their workplace.  It gives students the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours required of a qualified social worker and on successful completion, leads to eligibility to register with Social Work England.

Rachel Hek, Programme Leader for the Social Work Degree Apprenticeship at University Centre Shrewsbury, said: “All our graduates are now qualified social work professionals in the local area making a difference to lives of people who need support at a given time.

“The apprenticeship route is really valuable in many ways. It widens participation, allowing people into the profession who wouldn’t be able to afford to train on a traditional university course. The apprenticeship also creates strong links between the University and local employers and the course can therefore understand and meet the needs of people using services in the local community better.” 

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