A RECENTLY qualified social worker who successfully completed a degree-level apprenticeship with Leicester City Council has been shortlisted for a major national award.
Alex Cadoux, who works for the city council’s adult social care service, is among the latest cohort of staff to have completed a three-year degree level course in social work as part of a joint scheme run with the University of Warwick.
She began her degree apprenticeship in 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and has combined studying and training one day a week while still working in her regular job as a social care practitioner at the city council.
Her attitude and approach to study has led to her being nominated as Student Social Worker of the Year in the national Social Worker of the Year awards, the winner of which is due to be announced at an event in London on Friday 3 November.
Alex successfully graduated this summer, with first class honours, and is now working as a fully-qualified adult social worker at Leicester City Council.
She said: “I’m delighted to be nominated for this award and I am looking forward to celebrating all the great things social workers are doing all over the country at the awards on Friday evening. I am grateful to the city council and the University of Warwick for the opportunity to get my qualification on the degree apprenticeship programme and feel privileged to be able to work as a social worker in Leicester.”
Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell, who leads on social care, said: “I want offer my massive congratulations to Alex for her fantastic achievement. Completing a degree level apprenticeship is a huge challenge, but doing this alongside a demanding job, and to such a high-level, is phenomenal.
“Our degree-level apprenticeship in social work with the University of Warwick is still a relatively new scheme but it’s already helping to make sure we’ve got the resources and skilled workforce we need going forward. I’m incredibly proud of all our graduates.”
Nationally there are difficulties in recruiting enough social workers to meet the huge demand and heavy workload, but the degree-level apprenticeship has enabled the city council to ‘grow its own’ and help tackle the shortage of qualified social workers.
Leicester City Council was one of the first local authorities in the UK to embark on the social work apprenticeship scheme in March 2019. Since then, 21 apprentices have gained their qualifications. All the successful graduates took up posts as city council social workers upon qualification, providing a hugely valuable resource for both adults and children.
A further three cohorts of trainees are currently undertaking the course.
The Social Worker of the Year Awards is the only major national awards event for social work in England, attracting hundreds of entries every year and reaching millions of people with positive stories of outstanding social work, creative and compassionate practitioners and outstanding practice.