Our ‘Student Stories’ are personal pieces written by students about their journey to Salford and the experiences they had studying here. At the University of Salford we take pride in our School of Health and Society – a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a vast range of opportunities for our students. Our BSc (Hons) Social Policy course is one of the many rewarding undergraduate courses under the School of Health and Society and offers community placements to students to help them kickstart a viable career in public services such as social care. Megan Rowlands-Mckie is one of our Social Policy graduates who is sharing her Salford story with us today.
I initially applied to Salford to do the Social Work degree because this was my dream career. By the time I got round to applying, it was too late and all the positions had been filled. I was devastated, and then I got a call from the admissions team to offer me a place on the Social Policy course. The details of the course sounded interesting, and it wasn’t something that I had previously thought about. But I thought I would give it a go. Looking back now, doing Social Policy was the right idea. It allowed me to think about other career options as well as social work, and it didn’t mean I was stuck to one path.
I graduated in July 2018 with a First Class Honours and was then accepted on to the Frontline graduate scheme for child protection social work. The process for this was rigorous, but the modules covered in the Social Policy degree such as the families module helped me get through this. The Social Policy course enabled me to gain understanding in to real life issues that social work focuses on. The Frontline programme is two years long, I’m seven months into practice now, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. I’m working alongside children and families and even share a caseload. I’ll be a qualified social worker in September and will then complete my master’s. This wouldn’t have been possible for me without the experiences I gained from the BSc Social Policy course, or the immense support that was available from the lecturers.
The best thing in my opinion about the Social Policy course is the placement opportunity that you can do in third year. I completed a placement with a domestic abuse service. Once the placement is completed, you write a report on what you found during the placement, and how policy plays out in practice. It was really interesting being able to write about something that I had experienced myself, and it was also great to put on my CV.
My biggest piece of advice would be to make use of the lecturers. The Social Policy lecturers are an amazing source of support, and that support can be if you’re struggling with academic work, or even if you’re struggling with personal problems. I often wonder what my university experience would have been like if I didn’t have the support of a few key people. Reading and learning outside of the classroom is also invaluable for a successful academic life – do a bit of reading, listen to the news, watch documentaries about real-life issues. All of this will help you in the course.