National award for social work manager

A Central Bedfordshire Council social work practice manager proved that she is a cut above after winning a national social work award.

Tracie, who retrained as a social worker having previously been a hairdresser, has risen quickly through the ranks to Practice Manager with the Family Support team across Flitwick, Ampthill, Sandy and Biggleswade.

On Friday, the mum of three picked up the silver award for Team Leader of the Year for Children’s Services at the Social Worker of the Year Awards, held at the Lancaster London Hotel.

Among the things for which Tracie was recognised was how she has been actively involved in the development of students and newly qualified social workers.

Tracie admitted that the silver award was a “huge surprise”. And she said: “I was earnestly grateful for the recognition I received for my work, because I am very sure that every other nominee for this award was capable of winning. 

“I entered social work with the desire to affect positive change for children, young people and their families.  Leading a team is not done in isolation and it is the inspiration I have received from my seniors, my colleagues, my staff and my students for whom I have the deepest respect, and from whom I have derived the strength to challenge myself and perform better at each stage.

“I am passionate about being part of, and influencing social work in a way that fits. I am grateful for this milestone which indicates that I am doing a good job.  The existence and growth of the Academy of Social Work and Early Intervention is central to my success and that of my team members.”

The council launched the Academy in June 2014 with the University of Bedfordshire. It was set up to offer a virtual learning environment providing high-quality learning, training and development opportunities to everyone in the children’s workforce in Central Bedfordshire.

Since then, 337 learners have achieved accredited qualifications and by March next year, 25 newly qualified social workers will have completed their assessed and supported year of employment (ASYE) programme.

This has helped the council to significantly reduce social worker vacancies and spending on agency staff.

Those benefitting from the Academy are a mixture of people new to the children’s workforce taking part in introductory courses or more accomplished practitioners boosting their knowledge and skills and gaining higher qualifications.

Tracie’s success follows on from Dave Thomas winning Practice Teacher of the Year at last year’s awards.

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