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Disability equality

17 September 2010

Cardiff and Vale Coalition Of Disabled People

A forward-thinking approach to the teaching of Social Work at the University has been recognised with an equality award.

The Master in Social Work Programme, led by Dr Dolores Davey of the School of Social Sciences directly involves carers and people who use social services in all aspects of the management and delivery of the degree.

As a result of its initiatives, the programme and team behind it won an equality award in the public sector category of the Cardiff and Vale Coalition of Disabled People (CVCDP) awards.

The teaching team was commended by CVCDP for the processes they have in place. In particular the access, selection and interviewing protocols the programme uses were highly praised.

Since the start of the degree in 2005, the School has actively included carers and welfare service users. Their involvement has become an integral part of the programme from the students’ initial application to study through to training.

Speaking about their approach, Dr Young, who, working with Admissions tutor, Mr Abyd Quinn Aziz, has led on this strategy said: "A great deal of work went into working with service users and carers in preparing and training them to sit on the interview panels. Our aim is that all of the applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be interviewed by a social work academic, a social work practitioner and a service user or carer.

"The involvement of service users and carers in this process has brought a rich and unique perspective to the interview that could not be emulated without their involvement. How a prospective candidate to our programme relates to all members on the interview panel is important, but very important is how they relate service user and carers."

The Master in Social Work Programme provides students with a programme of study that develops the knowledge, skills and values required for effective anti-discriminatory practice in a diverse society. As well as being able to address and critically engage with the formal knowledge base underpinning social work practice students receive professional training in social work to meet the requirements set by the Care Council for Wales.

Three of the teaching team - Dr Dolores Davey (Programme Director), Dr Colin Young (Service User and Carer Liaison) and Mr Abyd Quinn Aziz (Admissions Tutor) attended the CVCDP award ceremony and collected the award on behalf of the programme.

Dr Davey said: "The involvement of service users and carers has brought an added dimension to our programme which is a reward in itself. The fact that we were nominated for an award was a great honour. To have won the award is fantastic and we look forward to continuing our partnership with CVCDP and building on the initiatives we have started."

Dr Young added: "The judging was done by members and staff of the CVCDP and based on the day-to-day interactions with academic staff, support staff and students, rather than on any formal application, so winning this award is credit to everyone involved!"

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