A Worcestershire County Council Social Worker has won the Mentor of the Year Award from the University of Worcester.
The University held its annual Mentor Awards on Tuesday 11 October, in collaboration with its NHS practice partners. The evening was a celebration of the outstanding work of those from a number of disciplines, including nursing, midwifery, ambulance personnel, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work and youth and community work, who build successful mentoring relationships with students.
Jane Perry, Associate Head of the University’s Institute of Health and Society, said: “Excellent mentors are the key to successful practice learning for many students. In holding this award ceremony each year, we recognise and celebrate the professionals who make an outstanding contribution to our students.”
Sarah Jayne Robertson, a Social Worker in the Rapid Response team, was awarded the Mentor of the Year Award (Social Work) for her work as Practice Educator to final year MA social work student, Rebecca Littlechild.
Sarah's role involved the management of the 100 day placement in her team, offering Rebecca the opportunity to develop her knowledge, skills and values, while teaching and assessing Rebecca.
Rebecca said: "Sarah is a well-respected social work practitioner in the team and this has been instrumental in her contact with other colleagues and the professional relationships she has developed in the wider team , it is these resources and the way in which Sarah approached her role that have supported me to have such wide ranging opportunities whist on placement.
"I have been able to work alongside not just one but two professional teams , one in social care and one in health and this has supported my understanding of the wider context of social care and the interactions that social worker inevitably have with their health colleagues. Sarah has been an ambassador for joint working and has actively encouraged joint visits where these are appropriate; this has meant that the service user has access to the right people at the right time.
"Sarah has been able to support me with all aspects of my placements, given me regular feedback and encouraging me to experience new opportunities. I could not have wished for a better work based supervisor."
Sarah said she was really pleased to have received the award. This is the first time that she has undertaken the Practice Educator role and said that although it can be hard work, it was a very positive experience and she would encourage other social workers to follow in her footsteps.
Any social worker interested in becoming a Practice Educator should contact Liz Bartholomew in Learning & Development at LBartholomew@worcestershire.gov.uk
who is happy to discuss the role, training etc. with teams and individuals.