Social Work graduate wins national essay prize

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Monday 08 May 2017

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A Social Work graduate has won a national essay prize after a placement on a youth offending team inspired her to write about justice systems for young people in England and South Africa.

Yvonne Rusere took the top honour in the Social Work category of the Critical Writing Prize 2017 competition.

Her essay compared the different justice systems for young people in England and in South Africa, particularly highlighting the role that social workers play.

Yvonne, who graduated with an MA in Social Work in November, was nominated for the award by her lecturer Dr Gurnam Singh and received £200 worth of books as a prize.

The annual prize, sponsored by Critical Publishing, is given to the best student essay demonstrating a high level of critical thinking. 

The award is open to any undergraduate or postgraduate student from the full range of social work and education-related subjects.

Yvonne, who has now secured a job as social worker specialising in youth offenders, said:

"I felt really elated, honoured and shocked about this win. “Having done my last placement in a youth offending team and subsequently working there as a practitioner I was eager to present a critical piece on the development of this service. The comparison aspect of the assignment afforded me the opportunity to analyse a parallel service i.e South African Youth Just Service. Coming from an African background the choice of the latter was natural. I was particularly eager to highlight the role of a social worker in both instances and challenge the popular discourse that it is a muted role, having worked in the service for the better part of a year. The challenges presented by the course were massive, but I was determined to succeed and directed all my energy towards doing my best.”

Yvonne’s lecturer, Dr Gurnam Singh, said: 

“My reaction on hearing that Yvonne’s essay was selected for the Critical Writing Prize 2017 was one of total delight. The essay in question required her to combine personal reflection with critical theory and practice, and Yvonne did this with great lucidity and originality. What I feel made Yvonne an exceptional student was her total commitment to social work underpinned by critical thinking and social justice.“She is a credit to the university and the profession of Social Work.”

To read Yvonne’s essay click here