Blog Post: Introducing Sharon Evans, Practice Consultant for the TP
By Sharon Evans, Practice Consultant for the Developing Together Social Work Teaching Partnership
Well here I am at the beginning of week 4 in my dream job of Partnership Practice Consultant. The sun is shining and there is a sense of normality returning as well as the welcome return of warmer weather. So what has brought me to this role and was it planned?
I qualified 21 years ago in Leeds, Yorkshire. I am a proud Yorkshirewoman and miss the people and the wonderful countryside as well as my family. I love nature and hiking and the Surrey Downs have become a fair substitute for the Yorkshire Moors that will always be in my heart. I moved to the South East soon after qualifying and have worked in London Boroughs and moved around the M25 working in child protection and court work, Therapeutic Family Assessments and support, adoption and latterly in children with disabilities.
I have always had a passion for attachment theory and adoption ever since I discovered it during my final placement in an adoption agency based in Leeds and Sheffield. They say you never forget your Practice Educator, or Practice Teacher, as she was known in my day. I think this is because they can have such an influence on the beginning of your social work journey, especially if you are lucky enough to have an inspirational teacher like I did. My practice teacher “Vera” was a very experienced practitioner and had a wide range of knowledge about all aspects of adoption. She had the balance just right in terms of support and ensuring that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and challenged myself.
She was also a brilliant reflective practitioner and we would sit and discuss how a session went if we had undertaken a joint session and how things could have been better. She wasn’t afraid of making a mistake in front of me, in my naivety I didn’t think she needed to improve anything, but as time went by and I became more confident in my practice I remembered our time together and realised what Vera was talking about when she discussed how supporting a student was helpful to her own practice.
I have never forgotten that and agree with her that supporting the development of social workers is a real privilege and so rewarding when you observe colleagues flourish and your own practice develops as a result.
So I asked the question at the beginning of this blog as to whether my applying for this role was part of a well developed career plan. Well I would say not in so many words, but I have real passion for mentoring and training and this is why working for the Teaching Partnership is my dream job. I feel I am a practitioner rooted in training and a trainer rooted in practice so this role could not be more perfect for me. I look forward to crossing paths with all of you and learning from you. Once we are back in the classroom I can guarantee that I will be bringing a cake as I love baking, and sharing good food as well as good ideas is a real passion of mine.