Student Profile - Social Work

Emma Podmore

I have had the opportunity to meet people I may not have had the chance to meet. I have also enjoyed gaining knowledge and skills and having opportunities to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Emma Podmore

Date completed: May 2011

What made you choose a Health or Social Care career path?
I had worked within the social care sector for a number of years as a carer for children with disabilities as well as working in both nurseries and care homes for the elderly. After spending a number of years working as a carer for a young man with severe disabilities, working alongside a variety of other professionals I became interested in social work. I started to work as a social work assistant in the Children with Disabilities team where I started to develop my skills in working not only with the children but also their families. I really enjoyed the work I undertook and co-working with the social workers and I decided to pursue a career in social work.

Why did you choose Oxford Brookes?
I visited a number of universities, Oxford Brookes was the first place I visited and I really liked the location and the relaxed atmosphere of the interview day. I liked how the social work course was laid out compared to other universities and suited my learning needs.

What have been the best parts of your student experience?
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a student as I did not get the opportunity when I left school, although I am a mature student and live outside of Oxford I have had the opportunity to meet people I may not have had the chance to meet. I have also enjoyed gaining knowledge and skills and having opportunities to push myself out of my comfort zone.

  • Placements – what have you enjoyed?
    I was able to undertake two different placements both of which met my learning needs and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I did my first placement working within a voluntary organisation working with adults with a variety of needs including addictions, mental health issues, homelessness and offenders. My second placement was working within a child protection team. Both of these helped me develop a variety of knowledge skills to use in practice.
  • Student support – how much support do you get?
    The lecturers and practice assessors have always been supportive and I have always felt comfortable in asking for their advice and for a tutorial if needed. As I had been out of education for a number of years I found the Upgrade service particularly useful during my first year providing me with essential tips on how to structure my essays.
  • Do you find Brookes Virtual useful?
    Yes it was helpful to have the slides and other information regarding the different topics all in one place and easily accessible. Brookes Virtual also provided an opportunity to keep in touch with other people on the course whilst we were not in lectures or on placement.
  • What is the Social life like?
    I did not live in Oxford for my whole time at university but was able to spend a year living in the city, I was able to meet new people and attend some of the local events which I enjoyed.

What advice would you give to others?
The social work degree course is a good course although it can be quite demanding and it is important to work hard from the start. There is plenty of support from both staff and other students. It is important to attend all the lectures not only to help with writing the assignments but to develop your own knowledge and skills needed for practice

Would you recommend your course to others?
Yes I would highly recommend it as through undertaking this course my confidence has soared which has helped me to develop as a professional.

Are you planning any further education/training?
I am undertaking the Newly Qualified Social Worker scheme and plan to continue developing through undertaking post-qualifying modules. I also hope to study for a master’s in the future.

What are your long term career plans? Speciality?
I would like to continue working in child protection for the foreseeable future and would like to look into specialising in either play therapy or working as a children’s guardian.