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News: Social Work Lecturer shortlisted for a national award

A Social Work Lecturer from the University of Chester has been shortlisted for a prestigious award for her extraordinary practice.

Bridget Caffrey has been selected as a finalist for University Social Work Lecturer of the Year in the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2023. 

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.

Bridget is one of five finalists in the University Social Work Lecturer of the Year category and will find out if she has won at a special awards ceremony in London on Friday, November 3. 

Supported by Essex County Council, the Award is open to Lecturers of Social Work at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) who provide outstanding and effective social work education for their students.

Bridget joined the University of Chester as a Senior Lecturer in 2015, becoming programme lead for the MA in Social Work, a role she held for several years. Since joining the University of Chester Bridget has developed her interest in practice education, carrying out research into student experiences in practice. Bridget is enthusiastic about Social Work education and the student experience. Bridget teaches several modules on the BA social work programme and the MA social work programme and is a Personal Academic Tutor for many students, developing an excellent awareness of the challenges faced by many students, both in their personal and academic lives. 

Bridget has also successfully researched and published in social work and shares this with students in her teaching sessions, basing research in the ‘real world’. Bridget achieved a Fellowship of the HEA (Advance HE) in recognition of her teaching role and has recently applied for a Senior Fellowship role, in recognition of her skills as a Social Work Lecturer. 

She was nominated for the award by her colleague Dr Valerie Gant with testimonials from students she has taught and inspired. 

Valerie said: “Bridget is an exceptionally talented academic whose passion is apparent in every aspect of her practice. She is a skilled educator who adopts a student-centred approach and draws on creative teaching methods to engage and inspire learners.   

“This nomination acknowledges not only Bridget’s excellence as an academic but also the considered, thoughtful and generous way in which she works has a positive influence on those around her which is worthy of recognition.”

Bridget said: “Thank you so much to Val and the students who nominated me for this award. It was a huge surprise and I am honoured to be shortlisted. I work with wonderful students from a wide range of backgrounds and it is a privilege to be a part of their journey into the social work profession. 

“I am lucky to be a part of a fabulous Social Work team at the University of Chester and very proud of the work we do. I am looking forward to attending the Awards evening in London and celebrating excellence in social work education and practice.”

Peter Hay CBE, Chair of the Social Work Awards, said:

“This year we received the most entries ever which goes to show organisations and individuals are keen to shine a light on the inspirational achievements of an often-overlooked profession. We would like to thank all those who took the time to nominate a friend, colleague, or team for an award this year. To our finalists, we’d like to say congratulations! Being nominated for a national award, whilst supporting others during very challenging times, is a remarkable achievement of which you should be very proud.”

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