While many of the potential candidates for this course may be drawn to it by painful and difficult personal experiences in their own lives, my motivation is just the opposite. I have been lucky to have a very secure upbringing, in a traditional, two parent home, with the love and support of my family and extended family around me at all times. I appreciate how lucky I am to have had this, and I want to give something back to society by helping others who have been less fortunate.
I have always been a people person and tend to be the first choice ‘shoulder to cry on’ for friends of both sexes. I have been told that I am a good listener and I find it easy to not only sympathise, but also to empathise with other people’s problems. These talents have been recognised at my school, where I have been a student counsellor for the past year. In this role, I help fellow students to talk about their problems and liaise with the relevant parties, such as teachers, house masters and the school pastoral care leaders. I hugely enjoy this work, as I can see how much difference a friendly face can make in times of trouble, as well as the impact of practical help and representation when you are feeling too emotional or confused to act for yourself.
Having decided on a career in social work early on, I have steered my studies towards this field, taking sociology, psychology and geography at A-level. While the geography may not seem immediately relevant, the issues discussed in this subject do have a genuine impact on people’s lives. I enjoy the lively debates that arise in all these subjects, especially sociology, and this has led me to establishing a debating society at my school, which I currently chair.
Outside of school, I am an active member of my local church, and am a youth leader at the out of school club. This club was created to give kids somewhere to hang out where they could feel safe and stay out of trouble. We play pool, darts and card games in the winter, and move outside for more active fun in the warmer weather. The youth group has an annual camp in Wales, and last summer I was chosen as a group leader, responsible for 25 kids aged from 11 to 15.
Although my own life has been comparatively easy, I am under no illusions as to how difficult life can be for others. My village borders a council estate with high unemployment and many deep-rooted social problems, and many of my friends are from this area. I have seen both the worst of these circumstances, in a friend’s mother who took her own life, and the very best, in which social workers have made a real difference in building communities and solving problems to give people much needed hope.
I know that my age and background will be a challenge for me in the field of social work, and that I will have to work hard to gain the trust and respect of the people I work with. However, I believe that I have the patience and abilities to succeed. This course will back those abilities with the knowledge and techniques I need to do well in this field, and so I do hope that you will consider me as a candidate.