The winners of the 2017 Social Worker of the Year Awards were revealed at a glittering awards ceremony in London on the 24th November. Entries for next year's awards will open in March 2018.

Louise Watson, Manchester Metropolitan University

Student Social Worker of the Year

 

 

Louise's qualities are perhaps most easily illustrated by her interactions with children during her social work master's degree, completed over a number of years in which she also worked in support roles at Stockport council children's services.

 

Her selection process at Manchester Metropolitan University included being interviewed by a number of young people, who commented that they would have chosen her to be their social worker. Later, during a placement at Stockport's domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation team – where she now has a job – she was the first person several children chose to disclose their experiences of being groomed and assaulted by adults to. Her practice educator, who called Louise an "outstanding student", praised her "skills in communication, and understanding of young people's needs and how to work restoratively with families".

 

Louise also impressed with her handling of high-risk domestic abuse cases, implementing theory into her practice and sharing knowledge – including with those who have been on the receiving end of abuse. Despite initially lacking confidence around court work, the latter quality helped her to support a parent who was involved in the first case where a person was found guilty under the new domestic abuse law relating to coercive control.

  

What was said about Louise:

 

“This entry highlighted Louise’s many strengths, in particular her ability to build relationships and inspire the confidence of young people in distressing circumstances. The nomination also demonstrated her developing professional confidence and leadership potential.” Helen Scholar, Deputy Editor, Social Work Education: The International Journal

 

“Louise is an outstanding student who is widely engaged, has worked very well collaboratively and has really good communication skills in high risk cases.” Zoe Betts, Owner, iamsocialwork

 

“Mine and Louise’s sessions are going great. She is a lovely supportive woman. She has put all my views forward and I can get along with her well. I feel very lucky to have Louise as a CSE worker.” Service user feedback

 

“I will always remember Louise because she is one of the few people I trust. I am so grateful I have someone like her in my life to support me and help me. She has helped me understand what I have been through in my life.” Service user feedback

 

Judges: 

  • Daniel Hope, SFAC
  • Helen Scholar, Social Work Education: The International Journal  
  • Jamie McEwan, Newly Qualified Adult Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2016
  • Jane Lindsay, Kingston University and St George’s University of London
  • Zoe Betts, iamsocialwork

 

Finalists:

  • Chelsea Higgins, University of Hull
  • Nabeela Talib, Oxford Brookes University
  • Joseph Vanlint, Liverpool John Moores University - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Louise Watson, Manchester Metropolitan University - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Suzanne Rowe, The Open University
  • Zoe Stanyard, Leicester De Montfort University