Karl Knill – BA (Hons) Social Work graduate

“I would recommend undertaking a social work course at Plymouth University because of the fantastic staff who underpin the programme and the vital links they have with practice learning opportunities throughout the south west.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

During my final year at Plymouth University I had a practice learning opportunity within a Devon County Council’s statutory Children’s Social Work teams. Following the end of this placement, I applied for a newly qualified post in the same area and I was accepted. I have remained with DCC ever since, progressing onto a senior social worker post.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

I was always committed to working within statutory Children’s Social Work and have remained there since graduating. The degree at Plymouth University gave me a useful insight into other areas of social work which helped to ensure that I think holistically about the families I work with. I may move to a different area of social work later in my career.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

The best thing that I have done in my career so far is to support parents to make the changes needed to enable their children to be safe and happy. The very best days in my job are the days when I see parents realise what they have achieved and the impact this has had on them and their children.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

For anyone thinking about becoming a social worker I would advise you to spend a lot of time and energy on your emotional resilience. Social work is a great profession to be a part of; however, it is really tough at times. There are so many different areas of social work to get involved with and a whole host of roles that aren’t called social work but will benefit enormously from a social work degree.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth helped me for two significant reasons. Firstly, the learning and support I received from several of the lecturers and practice educators was really helpful. I didn’t realise at the time just how much of a difference it would make to the families I have gone on to work with. There are some staff who I will feel forever indebted to for teaching me, supporting me, and pushing me to continue when I didn’t know I could do it. Secondly, the practice learning opportunities I had were brilliant. The links that Plymouth University has with other agencies, especially the local authorities, is immensely important to the student experience. All of my placements were crucial to my learning, but my final year placement within the local authority was undoubtedly invaluable helping me to get where I am now.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth? 

My favourite memory of studying at Plymouth is of the first week. I arrived so full of excitement, nervousness, and expectation about the journey I was about to embark upon. I remember seeing some of the buildings we would study in, getting my ID card, meeting some of the lecturers and, most of all, meeting all the other new students.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

I would recommend undertaking a social work course at Plymouth University because of the fantastic staff who underpin the programme and the vital links they have with practice learning opportunities throughout the south west. Without these, a social work degree counts for very little.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying social work, please visit our BA (Hons) Social Work course page. For more information about our range of health profession courses within the School of Health Professions, please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other relevant alumni are currently doing, please visit the health and social work interest area.