Please tell us a little about yourself ... what makes you laugh? What makes you angry?

Profile for Janet, service user and carer contributorSince childhood I have suffered with low self-esteem and low self-confidence. I struggled to find my way in my younger years, making many mistakes (or learning processes?). After my stroke in 1993 my anxiety and depression escalated. Writing my book of poetry “Aspects of Life” and having it published by Chipmunka Publishing was a major turning point in my life. I hope I am now finally on the right track.

Fawlty Towers makes me laugh. Injustice makes me angry.

Janet  "I have nothing but praise for the University. Everyone is helping so much with my ‘Survivor Journey’. I think that service user and carer involvement at the university is beneficial to all, long may it continue".

How long you been involved with the social work programmes at the university and why did you want to be involved?

I have been involved with the social work programmes at the university for about six years. I wanted to get involved because I needed to improve my self confidence and I hoped I could offer some of my experiences of life to help social work students understand the “real world” from “real people”.

What areas of the BA and MA programmes have you worked on?

I have taken part in the recovery through the arts workshops, also in the readiness for practice sessions as a role player in different scenarios. I have sat on the assessment panel and also on the admissions panel. I have been trained as a “meeter and greeter”. I have contributed to in healthcare workshops in the MSc programme. I have taken part in small and large group teaching on the undergraduate, postgraduate and post-qualifying programmes.

What are you enjoying most about working with students at the University of Birmingham?

I enjoy working with the students because I believe we can all help each other, the sessions are all positive and I have met some lovely people.

What qualities do you look for in social work applicants at interview? What makes a good social work student?

The applicant at interview must be passionate and genuine. I think a good social work student must keep an open mind.

What would be your message to social workers of the future?

My message to social work students of the future is this: Be true to yourself. Be prepared to cooperate with other team members to bring the best possible outcome for those you are trying to help.