The 2018 Social Worker of the Year awards took place in London on Friday 30th November. Entries for this year's awards open in April 2019. #SWA18

Odi Oquosa, University of Sussex

Student Social Worker of the Year



Odi is described by his first-year MA tutor as having been the “the beating heart of an especially cohesive, positive group of students”. Many others who have come into contact with him during his time at the University of Sussex feel similarly.


As well as applying a sharp intelligence and profound understanding of international social work to his studies, Odi stands out for his extra-curricular achievements as a student rep. Notable among these was managing to establish a common room for social work students – not easy on a space-starved campus – with a view to improving student cohesion.


But it wasn’t just by creating a shared space that Odi helped his coursemates develop together. As an older student, who grew up in Nigeria and had lived in other countries before settling in England, he introduced a distinctively different perspective to his predominantly young, white British, middle-class peers. This contributed to the group reflecting more deeply on questions of diversity than they might otherwise have done.


Odi’s dissertation, on shamanism, spirituality and social work, was also highlighted as offering a genuinely groundbreaking contribution to social work knowledge. There’s real excitement about where his career will lead.


What was said about Odi:

Odi's entry was glowing. He is bringing people together and has taken on extra roles above and beyond being a student.Zoe Betts, Owner, iamsocialwork


This is someone who really represents fellow students. He’s done great things and has outstanding characteristics going forward as a social worker.” Jane Lindsay, Associate Dean, Kingston University


Odi has brought a warmth to the department and to our school that will be sadly missed when he graduates, but I am delighted to have known him, and that he will be bringing this strength, intelligence and kindness into his social work practice instead.Tish Marrable, Director of Student Experience, School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex


I met thousands of people who used mental health services in the course of my 41 year NHS career. They have each touched me deeply. But Odi stands out. Any social work client would be blessed to find Odi allocated to their case. He has a brilliant brain and a lion heart.” Lisa Rodrigues CBE, Writer and Mental Health Campaigner



  • Allison Coleman, Co-Chair National Organisation for Practice Teaching
  • Jane Lindsay, Kingston University and St George's University of London
  • Maxine Fletcher, Oxford Brookes University
  • Stephanie Mills, Newly Qualified Children's Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2015
  • Zoe Betts, iamsocialwork



  • Annabelle Stock, University of Birmingham - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Nicola Ascott, The University of Warwick
  • Odi Oquosa, University of Sussex - GOLD AWARD WINNER