Alumnus recognised for outstanding contribution 

 

A University of Lincoln graduate has won the Silver Award in the ‘Children’s Social Worker of the Year’ category at the 2015 Social Worker of the Year awards.

Alumnus Stephen Field, BSc (Hons) Social Work (Employment Based Variant), who graduated in 2013, received his award at a ceremony in London on November 27th. The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of practitioners and teams across the country.

“The award ceremony was a great event which showcased the incredible work taking place in the profession, and to be recognised with a Silver Award was a great feeling. It’s an amazing thing to be stood on stage receiving this kind of award, a real sense of achievement, of working to make a difference,” said Stephen.

“It came out of the blue, but no one works alone in this role and there are countless others across many roles I share this with.”

  

When Stephen enrolled here at the University, he had already worked in a number of roles supporting individuals, families and communities. Stephen had always been drawn to working with people and was keen to make a difference in the lives of those experiences challenges.

Stephen’s affinity for people has played a large part in the positions that he’s worked in throughout his career. Stephen spent time working in the arts for many years in arts centres, community arts, museum education and community work.

“During this time there were occasions when I met individuals, groups and communities which were experiencing some challenge or another making their life difficult in some way.

“I found that offering a listening ear was something people often needed but was hard to find, and by listening to someone share their worries and to offer no judgement, I could help them to make a positive change for themselves.” 

In time Stephen found himself working as a family support worker running groups, assisting social workers in their assessments of children and families and working to support children who had experienced some form of abuse. It was during this time Stephen also trained as a Counsellor.

“What struck me most was the extraordinary courage and determination people can find in themselves when dealing with major and often unwelcomed life events.

“Poverty, domestic abuse, violence, neglect, abuse, fear, loss and trauma was all too common in the lives of the children and young people I was working with. Nonetheless, there was also, joy, commitment, purpose and achievement in overcoming these issues.

“It’s the people around us, our communities, family and friends who make a difference, and by working with other professionals from health, education, the police, community groups and social workers, it helps to bring about change for the better, and this was something I was ready to step into.”

Stephen decided to come to the University to study to become a social worker. After graduating in 2013, Stephen took up employment in a front line child protection team, something he initially found quite daunting - but he was surrounded by a fantastic team.

“They guided and supported me in my first year. In time, as I developed in skill and practice, the more complex and deeply challenging aspects of the role presented themselves. Immediate safeguarding of children, court work, case management and assessment, multi-agency and individual work all forming a safeguarding network encountered on a daily bases. It’s difficult, challenging and stressful, but it’s rewarding and inspiring.”

Stephen also provides training on communicating with children and young people to newly qualified social workers. He has also maintained close links with the arts and is currently a consultant for a leading theatre company whose current show and work is linked to developments with education and training in health and social care.

Stephen’s recent success at the Social Worker of the Year Awards is one more step in what has been a fantastic yet challenging journey, and one which will continue to interest, inspire and surprise.     

“There isn’t a single day goes by were you don’t learn something new, are surprised or inspired by the people you encounter. It’s an amazing job being a Social Worker but I’m lucky, I work with amazing people who make a difference every day and who are often unseen in their actions but vital in the positive outcomes for so many people."

     

 

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Story credits: Adam Toyne

December 2015

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