Jackie Yaskey Nominated for Amazing Social Worker Award!


In her own words, Senior Lecturer for Social Work, Jackie, tells us about her journey into Social Work.

"I wanted to go into Social Work following a sixth form work experience with young people in a children’s home in my hometown of Coventry. Though challenging, I found the experience rewarding and I wanted to support and encourage young people to achieve their full potential and not let their background hinder them in achieving this.

I studied Social Policy and Administration for my undergraduate degree at the University of Hull and then decided to remain in Hull to complete my two-year social work training where I achieved a Diploma in Social Work and Master’s in Social Work. During my time at Hull, I volunteered for the Education and Welfare service and this experience provided a firm foundation for training in social work. I would support students whose grants were late, dealt with student housing issues such as landlords refusing to undertake repairs along with more sensitive issues such as counselling a student around their options for an unwanted pregnancy. I really enjoyed the varied nature of the work and feeling that I was making a difference in students’ lives. Through the Education and Welfare service I developed firm friendships which have lasted more than thirty years.  I also volunteered with the Hull University Social Services Organisation (HUSSO) for a reading scheme supporting primary school children.

When I qualified as a social worker in 1992, my plan was to always become a lecturer in Social Work so that I could train social workers of the future. I needed to obtain hands-on social work experience and so I moved to London and worked as a Children and Families Social Worker in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. I later moved to co-ordinating a respite care scheme for children with disabilities at Westminster Council. I have also worked for a charity supporting foster carers and looked after children.

The challenges I have faced in my career is ageism - at the start of my career in respect of not being taken seriously enough due to my relatively young age when I qualified as a social worker. I have also experienced racial discrimination both at an organisational and personal level. As a result, I feel it is important to act as a positive role model for the students that I teach and to encourage students to advocate for themselves and the service users they are supporting.

Social work is a challenging and yet rewarding profession to enter. It can open so many doors and enables you to make a real difference to a person’s life when they are at their most vulnerable. It may be that you don’t ever see the difference that you have made. I was fortunate to teach a young woman I had supported when she was a teenager. The initial meeting with her when she said that I had been her social worker was very emotional for us both.

I am pleased and humbled to be nominated for the award as Amazing Social Work as part of the British Association of Social Work World Social Work month. I think my approach which is appreciated by students’ centres around promoting the student perspective and appreciating the many competing demands that students have nowadays. I seek to be open and transparent in my dealings with students and I use humour to sometimes get a point across which I think students appreciate. I demonstrate a calm and measured approach in the delivery of my teaching, and I think that students find me approachable.

My advice to future social workers is that it is a varied and rewarding profession, but I would say to social workers of the future, that it is also a very demanding role and it is important for you to maintain your wellbeing in order to be effective in your role."

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