Years of first-hand observation of her mother’s career in social work – recognising the rewards not only for her mother, but also for the children and families she worked with – inspired Karon to pursue the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to people’s lives.
Following a few years in auxiliary posts at her local hospital, Karon left the NHS to pursue her ambition of a career in children’s social care, starting as a Residential Care Officer before becoming a Social Work Assistant.
Fuelled by her natural passion to seek justice and empower those who are vulnerable, Karon completed the OU’s BA (Hons) Social Work degree programme in November 2020, and thanks her “excellent tutors - absolute legends - who clearly take great pride in fulfilling their professional role, and ensuring us students achieve our maximum potential throughout our learning and in professional practice”.
Driven by desire to progress her career, the OU’s combination of tutor-supported distance learning and practice-based learning gained on work-based placements in partnership with employers, was the perfect fit for Karon’s circumstances. “I was able to use various devices to access my study materials whilst going about my busy family lifestyle. It meant I was able to catch up on things or study in my car whilst my children were at training, or in my lunch break at work, or at any time I could fit it in, wherever I happened to be.”
“My understanding of theory, critical thinking and analysis improved significantly throughout my studies and placement opportunities. And, my two placements gave me a vast experience from one end of the scale to the other - I now have a greater understanding of social work processes from start to end”
Karon “thoroughly enjoys social work, even with its current challenges” and now feels more aware of diverse issues that families are affected by, and has more experience of how to engage with families using her improved critical thinking and analytical skills.
Fresh from graduation, Karon wasted no time putting her new skills and knowledge to good use, quickly taking the leap from Social Work Assistant into her first role as a qualified Social Worker.
This is just the beginning for Karon, who aspires to progress further, contribute towards the development of others, and advocate real positive difference for the future of children and family care. “That might sound a bit cliché” she says, “but I imagine that progression of my social work career will enable me to participate in positive changes on a greater scale - and possibly even at a strategic level.”
In Karon’s opinion: “The advice I would give to anyone considering embarking on a course with the OU is to ABSOLUTELY GO FOR IT.”