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Social Work award -Vic Arnold, Victoria Shore and Dr Gill Buck

The programmes, which are based at University Centre Warrington, have won University of the Year in the annual Social Worker of the Year Awards receiving praise for its commitment to the local community, dedication to diversity and the expertise and support of its lecturers. 

Supported by Coventry City Council, the University of the Year award recognises outstanding and effective social work education for its students and shaping the social workers of tomorrow into reflective, compassionate and resilient practitioners.  

The University’s Social Work Department was praised by the judges for embedding itself in the local community and ensuring those around it directly benefit from social work. 

The judges said: “The Department prides itself on involving people with lived experience of social work in its programmes and encourages students to promote a range of local services such as foodbanks and care centres.  

“During the pandemic, students developed a project to support homeless people to have a hot meal and change of clothes. The importance of these close local links is reflected in the University’s excellent employment statistics, with many students opting to remain working in the area after completing their studies.” 

The judges also highlighted how students benefited from a passionate and supportive team of staff, many of whom are actively involved in research. Social Work England recently praised the research environment offered by the University which is “clearly having a positive effect as a number of students have been published in peer reviewed journals”. 

The supportive environment of the University was also praised. The judges described feedback from students who said that “the University is a place they felt ‘respected, heard and understood’ and the experience on offer as ‘unbelievably positive’ and ‘nothing other than exceptional’”. 

The University delivers undergraduate and postgraduate pre-qualifying programmes for Social Work students including an apprentice and a foundation year programme. Social Work at the University of Chester is part of the Cheshire and Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership and academic staff work closely with local authorities as well as voluntary agencies across the region.    

Mandy Schofield, Deputy Head of the Department of Social Work at the University of Chester, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this award. It is down to the hard work and commitment of all our staff and students who go above and beyond every day. 

“I am so proud of everyone involved and we will continue to provide the best experience for our students as we equip them to become the social workers of the future.” 

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