Student overcomes personal tragedies to achieve social work dream
Determined Roz gains first-class degree
A Leyland student has achieved her dream of becoming a social worker despite being faced with a bereavement and caring responsibilities during her studies.
Roz Stewart-Gilmour has achieved a first-class degree in social work from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), despite her mum Bernadette passing away in her final year of study due to respiratory failure at only 61-years-old and having to care for her dad Winfield who suffers from three types of dementia.
The 38-year-old moved back to the area to care for both her parents in 2015 after living in Durham for 10 years. Roz had to balance her course with family responsibilities, culminating in her mum’s death last summer a month before she went on her final placement and separating from her husband only months later.
She said: “It was tough but the team at West Lancashire Community Re-Start were really supportive, particularly my educator Marion Crowther-Jones who really kept me going. The course was really my coping mechanism when everything else seemed to be falling apart. It gave me a focus and I became determined to complete it.”
"It’s been tough at times but certainly worth it and I’m so grateful to the support I received from both my educator and tutors at UCLan."
Marion, who won several awards including a Shining Star Award from Lancashire Care Foundation Trust after being nominated by Roz, said: “Roz has been amazing and her own life experiences mean she can relate to people, which is so important in this job. The whole team is very proud of her and know she will make a fantastic social worker.”
Despite the many hurdles, Roz not only achieved top marks for her degree but also secured a job with Wigan Council in child protection and will begin in a matter of weeks.
She added: “Child protection is a new area to me and I’m looking forward to getting started. I’m also going to be studying part-time for an MA in Social Pedagogy and Leadership so it will certainly keep me busy. It’s been tough at times but certainly worth it and I’m so grateful to the support I received from both my educator and tutors at UCLan.”
Roz graduated from UCLan at Preston’s Guild Hall alongside more than 3,500 fellow students.