Former Health and Social Care student, Rachael Ward, is on her way to becoming a Social Worker. She tells us about her experience at college and her rewarding work experiences that are leading her to a bright future.
What made you choose the Health and Social Care course?
“I have been interested in the subject since studying level 2 in high school. I always gravitated towards the caring professions and in primary school I was a mentor for the younger children and volunteered in a creche. My primary school also had a SILC (Specialist Involvement Learning Centre) for children aged 3-11 with moderate to severe learning/communication difficulties, which triggered my interest for working with disabled individuals.”
What opportunities were available through Leeds City College?
“During college, I had the chance go on placement at St Mary’s Hospital which is where I found out about Your Health Matters, a project for adults with learning disabilities which works with the NHS to produce easy to read information about health.
“I took part it lots of activities such as gardening, cooking, providing feedback to services and attending meetings such as the service user network meeting. I really enjoyed my placement and decided to stay and volunteer at Your Health Matters for two years.
“Throughout volunteering, I was continuously learning and building great relationships with the service users that attended. I was fortunate enough to win a STAR award through the Staff Achievement and Recognition scheme, which was open to any member of staff, volunteer or team who went above and beyond. I won £100 of vouchers, a framed certificate, a letter of thanks from the chairman and a ticket to the Trust’s annual awards ceremony in which I came runner up.
“After volunteering, I applied to become a paid member of staff at Your Health Matters and was successful. I worked there part time which gave me opportunities to work as a bank member of staff for the NHS. This meant I was able to work for different services looking after adults with learning disabilities and complex needs. I continued to work at Your Health Matters as a support worker for another year before I got a place at Cardiff Metropolitan University studying Social Work. I continue to work as an NHS bank support worker during the holidays.”
How did Leeds City College help you develop?
“Leeds City College gave me the qualifications and opportunities to be able to further my education. I have used the skills and knowledge from the diploma not only during my work experience but also as a base for my assignments while studying my degree.
“The experience of going to college and being on placement gave me the confidence and determination to develop and go in to a career which is extremely rewarding (and challenging). My college tutor Joanne Bradley supported me academically and personally throughout the two years and continues to stay in contact to this day. She played a huge part in helping me get the most from my experience and always believing in me when I doubted myself.”
What are your ambitions for the future?
“I plan to continue learning and developing. On completion of my degree, I would like to become a Social Worker and I am looking forward to seeing where this path takes me.”