Undergraduate study

Our students

Shirley Fenn

Shirley chose social work because she wanted to give something back.

Shirley Fenn

BA (Hons) Social Work

My advice would be to be yourself and enjoy every second.

Why Teesside University?

I grew up in Teesside, so I was aware of the School of Health & Social Care’s good reputation. The course fits in with my family commitments, so Teesside University was the ideal choice.

Why social work?

I’ve always had an interest in social issues. I’ve used social services through my problems with depression and they’ve supported my autistic sons so I felt I wanted to give something back. Now my children are grown up it was the perfect time to start.

Best thing about your course?

I’ve found the whole of the first year great – it’s helped me to grow personally and professionally. I particularly enjoyed the Safeguarding module because it’s relevant to all roles within social work, whether working with adults or children.

Tell us about the facilities

The facilities are fantastic, especially the Library now it’s been refurbished. I use the careers service quite often – they helped me to write personal statements for my placement and volunteering roles. I also use the catering outlets on campus – there’s plenty of choice and I’ve made some great friends that I can have something to eat with on a lunchtime.

Have you done any work placements?

I had two days shadowing last year where I got to apply the theory in a practice setting. This year I will be going on to do my 70-day placement and then next year my 100-day placement.

Tell us about your volunteering

I’ve undertaken volunteering since starting University, through the volun-Tees scheme. I volunteer with the Redcar Beacons which help local people stay safe at night and with the mental health charity Mind, working as an appropriate adult supporting people when in police custody. I also trained to become a case worker and befriender with the Royal Air Force Association. These roles have again helped me to put the theory from my course into practice and I’ve gained recognition from the University, having being awarded a platinum plus award for the number of hours I’ve volunteered.

Would you recommend Teesside?

Yes, I would recommend both my course and the University because of the experiences and opportunities I’ve had. My advice would be to be yourself and enjoy every second.