Sharon Sidhu, MA Social Work (2010)

Where are you working and what are you doing? 

I am working as an agency social worker for unaccompanied Asylum Seekers at Worcester County Council. I am also awaiting a start date from Sandwell Children's Services as a newly qualified social worker for the Looked After Children's Team.

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

Initially whilst completing my dissertation, I worked part time for Wolverhampton Leaving Care Service and once I completeted my dissertation my hours increased to full time.

By gaining experience in a Leaving Care Service, I was able to combine my experience with the knowledge I gained from my Masters, which I demonstrated in job applications and interviews. I also received interview guidance and support from Gary Hickman and used the guidance notes from the children and family teaching and this helped with my appointment for qualified social worker positions.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

The most enjoyable part of my job is seeing the progress that young people make. This can be obvious from working with them and following their progress through the Children's Services system.

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?

Birmingham University have an excellent reputation and this is the reason that I applied to the University.

What are the fondest memories of the University?

The lecturers are very supportive and approachable. They are willing to take feedback on board and action it accordingly. Furthermore, the University heavily involve service users in their teaching which provides you with first-hand insight about their experiences, which I often reflect on when working with service users at work.

How did you grow as a person by coming to University?

I look at the world with different eyes, as my course provided insight into understanding the world from different sociological and psychological perspectives. I have definitely become more open minded and wiser as a person.

What did you think of the learning experience within the University?

The structure of the course allows you to apply teaching into working practice through work placements. It gives you the opportunity to reflect on your experience of working and prepares you for the climate of social work. This was vital in preparing me to work within a climate where resources are restricted and the need for resources overwhelmingly high. It would have been difficult to accept or work within this framework if the course did not reflect the challenges that lie in social work and give me the opportunity to explore them in a safe, confidential environment.

What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?

If you are struggling with your work or need some extra support, then approach your lecturers. They are approachable, understanding and always have time for you.