Involvement of service users and carers in training social work students
The Service User and Carer Involvement (SUCI) Group is one of the most important resources we have for encouraging our students to apply social work theory to social work practice.
Formed in 2003, our SUCI Group consists of SUCI 'experts by experience' who share the desire to use their lived experiences to better inform the next generation of social workers being educated here at Anglia Ruskin University. SUCI experts span our three campuses and, while we are always pleased to recruit new members, most of our group have been with us for many years now. This means that our SUCI experts not only use their lived experience of service involvement to educate our students, but they are also extremely able to support students preparing for their first practice placement due to their excellent understanding of the wider expectations of the course.
Our SUCI colleagues are involved in both the design and delivery of our modules and are equal partners in all our admission and some of our assessment procedures across the course. In terms of face-to-face contact, the SUCI group work closely with all our social work students in the Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice module over the first year of study. This means the group work directly with students to help to ensure they feel confident and well-prepared to begin their first placement. Additionally, SUCI experts design and run highly valued Equality & Diversity training for all our first-year students as well as bringing their lived experience and expertise to days across other modules on the course.
What our students say:
‘During my time working in social care over the last 8 years, I have never heard anyone speak so honestly about the social worker role. Including personal expectations, positives and negatives. It is an extremely clever and effective way of not only teaching us students, but also improving social services. This has therefore motivated me even more to gain the best knowledge and skills to be the best social worker possible’.
‘I think it is a brilliant idea to incorporate service users into the course, they bring us the knowledge that we cannot get from anywhere, having a touch with the outside world before we start placement and give us the motivation to do better, to ensure that we will not make the same mistakes or errors that have been made to them’.
‘The afternoon was incredibly informative and meeting the service users made a big impact on me. I felt I really benefitted from hearing all their stories and experiences because it suddenly made the course and the job we all aim to reach real. It put everything we had been discussing so far into perspective’.
Through the links some of our SUCI experts have, we were invited to contribute to a short film about what we do:
For Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough please contact:
ARDP Administrator and Service User & Carer Involvement Support Officer
Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
ARU, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT
T: +44 (0) 7824 537887
ARU Cambridge | ARU Chelmsford | ARU London | ARU Peterborough