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Kev Mundays work

Kelly Crosswell

BA (Hons) Social Work

Graduated 2017

Kelly Crosswell headshot

During my time at Solent, I had many opportunities to get experience; such as working placements in which you work within either a statutory or voluntary agency and partake in daily social work alongside a range of professionals, gaining hands on experience. This gave a valuable and very special approach to the academic work as I feel it offered an honest and frank insight into the reality of the highs, lows and challenges that a social work career offers. 

My favourite moment at Solent is hard to pinpoint as there have been many moments that I cherish. I have made some wonderful friends and have met and worked closely with a great network of professionals. Throughout the course I have identified and felt times of self growth, determination and achievement. One of the most special highlights for me was having my two sons present at my graduation. They had been on the university journey with me and it was so very beautiful to have them with me to celebrate! 

I graduated from Solent in July 2017 and started my job as a full time children's and families social worker two weeks later. My current position is actually within the same team I was in within my university placement.

My placement at Solent gave me an opportunity to find my passion and my place within social work, and I absolutely love my job and my team.

My day can consist of many different activities, which include communicating with a wide variety of professionals - police, schools, midwives, housing, doctors, etc. I undertake statutory visits, complete sensitive and analytical case notes, assessments and referrals, and attend meetings. Sometimes there are crisis situations that arise that need immediate attention and these can happen at any time.

A typical day can be extremely busy and there is no denying time management, emotional resilience, empathy and reflection are key skills within this profession. 

As a social worker, it is important to be driven in promoting social change in an empowering manner, working in partnership with clients to support them in identifying their inner strengths and resources, alongside working and communicating with a professional network to safeguard vulnerable individuals using legislation, policies and guidance if necessary. 

To me, social work is a disciplined profession in which I am responsible in identifying and tentatively exploring presenting risks and situations that children and families may need support with managing via intervention and/or safeguarding.

Promoting and supporting autonomy is a very important core strand of the work, and the profession operates within a framework of legislation and policy that must be adhered to. Working in a respectful manner and communicating effectively is key to successful social work. 

My tips to someone wanting a career in social services would be:

  • Remain passionate and true to your core values and beliefs. 
  • Appreciate your team on placements.
  • Appreciate the knowledge the lecturers have and attend all lectures - missing one can set you back!
  • Utilise the experiences on offer and remain curious. Explore and critically analyse current research.
  • Get a diary and reflect on/document your growth and challenges. Learn the legislation and statutory guidance.
  • Take time to look after yourself! Self care is important!

Discover BA (Hons) Social Work

Kev Mundays work

Victoria Gumbrell

BSc (Hons) Psychology (Child Development and Education)  

Graduated 2012

Victoria Gumbrell headshot

To me, psychology is understanding the human mind and behaviour. Being able to understand behaviour means we can help find way to teach appropriate behaviours, and increase socially significant behaviours. This can have an incredibly huge impact on an individuals quality of life, and psychology is the development of an understanding of this process. 

Solent gave me a brilliant background of knowledge to start me off in my career. Having a base of knowledge to build upon was so helpful when I moved into my first post-degree job, and was invaluable at helping me progress in my workplace. 

Our education pathway classes were a particular highlight of mine. The introduction to autism in some of these sessions really highlighted what I wanted to do. And the weekly baking I and my course mates did helped too!

When I left university I got a job working as an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) teacher in a specialist school for children on the autistic spectrum disorder. I worked with several different age groups from 10-19 over the next year, following the principles of ABA to help teach important and functional skills.

After a year I was promoted to a lead teacher, and had responsibility of a class of pupils and the teachers within it. During my time at the school I worked through two qualifications in ABA and well as completing my Masters degree in high incidence disabilities. 

After four years at the school, I moved to the adult services department to work as a team leader, responsible for a team of client and support workers. I developed and implemented behaviour support plans and programmes to help teach critical and required skills, and organised timetables of different activities including trampoline, swimming, cooking and gardening. 

My career highlight so far is a tough one to pick out. I am so proud of myself for completing my Masters while working a full time job, but within work it would have to be teaching a pupil to tie his shoes independently. 

This was a skill we worked on over a number of months and he was so exceptionally proud when he finally realised he could do it on his own! That small bit of independence meant so much to him, and his mum was over the moon at his persistence to learn.

We also had many pupils who had a high level of challenging behaviour, and teaching one in particular to use a communication system was so rewarding. Once he was able to communicate his own wants and needs, the number of episodes of challenging behaviour reduced from more than 200 daily to zero. And he was so much happier being able to tell us what he wanted, and to be understood. 

To someone wanting a career in this industry I would say focus on behaviour. Understanding why people behave in the way they do, and what they might be trying to communicate is essential to being able to help them and to progress in your career.

My degree taught me so many important skills, not just about psychology, but also about education, its history and the effects it can have.

Volunteer and get as much experience as you can. Speak to people who have experience in any field you might be interested in. Learn as much as you can from them. 

Discover psychology at Solent

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