Two UEA students in the School of Social Work have won national awards for their outstanding work in the field.
Aravind Satheesh, a postgraduate taught student in the School of Social Work beat off competition from across the country to claim gold at the Social Worker of the Year Awards.
Aravind is currently a Social Worker at Norfolk County Council, helping refugees arriving in the UK under various resettlement schemes.
As part of his MA degree, Aravind completed two placements. His first was at The Matthew Project, a Norfolk based charity that works with young people, adults and their families to help individuals overcome drugs, alcohol, and mental health issues so they can live their lives more fully.
His second placement was as a Student Social Worker and Development Worker in the council’s People from Abroad Team, where he supported families arriving under the Refugee Settlement Programmes, as well as those under the Homes for Ukraine initiative. He also led a successful event for victims of the Turkish and Syrian earthquakes, raising more than £5,000.
Aravind said: “This award is the result of a team effort. I dedicate this award to both my placement teams People from Abroad Team and The Matthew Project and to all the student social workers out there who are managing their university work, placements and sometimes part-time job and working through all the adversities in pursuit of making this community a better place.
“I would also like to thank my professors at UEA for believing in me and always supporting me. This profession gives me the opportunity to make a positive change in people’s life, this motivates me to be a social worker.”
And the last few weeks have in fact been a double celebration for the School, with MA Social Work second-year student Tosin Sofowora winning a British Association of Social Work (BASW) award in October for her essay on anti-racism.
The writing competition, organised by BASW's Black Person's Symposium, called for submissions from social workers on issues of race and colour, and Tosin was the inaugural winner with her essay titled 'Reflective Essay on ‘Anti-racism in Social Work’.
In the essay, Tosin reflects on how an anti-racism presentation resonated with her and her experiences whilst on placement.
Christine Cocker, Head of School for Social Work at UEA, said: “We are very proud of both Aravind and Tosin for achieving individual recognition on a national scale.
“Aravind made a hugely significant contribution to his placement with Norfolk County Council whilst studying for his MA in Social Work at UEA. He has a promising and rewarding career as a social worker in front of him, and we wish him all the best for his future.
“Tosin’s essay is a powerful read and showcases her obvious talent. After seeing a need within her placement setting, she set about addressing a gap in provision for Black and minority ethnic students attending secondary school in Norfolk. That is what supporting communities is all about. Tosin’s ability to share her experiences so eloquently in her essay is highly commendable, and she is very deserving of her award.”
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