A social worker who helps train student social workers at Bradford College has been honoured for her contribution to the profession at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards.
Karen Maude, of Lightcliffe, was named Practice Educator of the Year at the awards ceremony, which took place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.
The award recognises social workers who are involved in teaching, assessing and supporting students and newly qualified social workers.
Karen works alongside students on social work degrees at University Centre Bradford College. She supports them on work placements in a range of settings and also delivers some teaching sessions to help prepare students for placements.
The 63-year-old has dedicated herself to mentoring and supporting students since retiring from a 24-year career with Calderdale Council Adult Social Care.
The awards organisers said Karen was recognised by colleagues and students alike as a “legendary” supervisor who truly walks alongside those she supports, on hand at all hours of the day to answer questions and offer encouragement.
The judges described Karen as a ‘committed and passionate’ practice educator and praised her ability to instil confidence and determination into her students.
Karen said: “It was an absolute privilege to receive this award. I have been a Practice Educator for many years and aim to bring out the potential in each social work student to be the very best they can be.”
Brian Mitchell, Head of School for Social Care and Community Practice at University Centre Bradford College, said: “This is an astounding achievement and one Karen should rightly be proud of.
“Students and colleagues from Bradford College are really pleased for her securing the title Practice Educator of the Year.
“Karen’s support, advice and guidance to students across the social work degree programme have been invaluable.
“Colleagues appreciate that Karen is always ready to listen and talk through any issues that students may be experiencing and has a unique ability to find learning in every situation. This approach is complemented by her ability to be creative and innovative with ideas and relate these directly to practice.
“The award is due recognition and acknowledgement of Karen’s brilliance within her role. The nomination was endorsed by all the key stakeholders within The Bradford Social Work Teaching Partnership. Bradford College students and staff from across the partnership provided many of the testimonies within the nomination.
“Karen continues to work with our students, sharing her expertise, experience, empathy and passion. We are very fortunate to have people like Karen working with our students.”
Helen Routledge, a social work student who has benefited from Karen’s support, said: “She has a wide depth of experiences and knowledge and as a practice educator she is also someone who goes that extra mile to support students.”
Fellow student Laure Gott spoke of Karen’s warmth and empath and added: “Karen is everything a social worker should be.”
Karen was presented with her award by care leaver and BBC news reporter, Ashley John-Baptiste in front of an audience of over 450 social workers and representatives of the profession. The Social Worker of the Year Awards were founded in 2006 by independent practitioner, Beverley Williams MBE, with the aim of improving the understanding and reputation of the profession.