Social Work student says the profession aligns with his strong sense of social justice

Student Patrick O’Donnell says that he believes social work aligns with his “strong sense of social justice,” as he progresses his Social Work Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Patrick used to work in education, but found himself wanting to have more of a direct impact on the lives of children in need and their families. He decided to change careers by retraining as a social worker. He said:

"I cared about the children I worked with, their story and their future. My dad was a social worker and my mum a teacher, so I suppose I have been brought up with a value base that is in keeping with social work values. Additionally, I have a strong sense of social justice."

Patrick ODonnell Cropped 1

Patrick also believes that male social workers play an essential role within the profession, helping to build a strong rapport with other men in need of support. He said:

"Stereotypically it’s an area where more women might be seen to work, but men have a very important role to play in social work. As social workers we need to think better about how we engage fathers and male members of families, and I think more male social workers will have a very positive impact on how we achieve that."

Patrick balances his studies while juggling a full-time job and family responsibilities. He admits this can be challenging at times but says that the “support from the tutors and wider staff is brilliant” and that he really appreciates the opportunity to reflect on his current practise.

He said the degree apprenticeship has “really helped me to understand through theory and research why some things I have tried in the past have worked, and why some things might not have worked so well. Additionally, I am constantly developing knowledge and skills for my future role in social work.”