Lucy Packer – BA (Hons) Social Work graduate

Year of graduation: 2014

Current employer: Devon County Council

Current job title: Team Manager
Current location: Devon

“Studying at Plymouth helped me to link up with different agencies and gave me a broad range of placement opportunities.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I sought employment as a Social Worker in a Children and Families team (Child Protection) at a Local Authority once the course came to an end and I was successful at my first interview. I started my post as a Social Worker in September 2014, and have remained in the same team, working up from Senior Practitioner to my current role as Team Manager.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

My career path has not changed since I graduated. I have remained in the same team and remain focused on progressing in the field of child protection. I have branched into work based on education in addition to my social work role, and I am aiming to become a practice educator at masters level. I have a role as a Practice Educator within my agency.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The most difficult thing I have faced in my career is coming to terms with not being a learner, having spent three years at the University of Plymouth. Making the transition to ‘doing’ the job and building confidence in my role was a challenge; however, I was well supported in this.

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

I have enjoyed my entire career so far. There is no one thing that stands out as being the best; however, I have really enjoyed the education element of my role and learning new skills. I have also been nominated by the Local Authority as ‘Social Worker of the Year’ for 2016, which is a national, independent award.

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

If I could do anything differently I would have sought to plan a longer break between completing the course and starting employment, as the job is challenging and hard work and I would have benefited from starting later; on the other hand, I was really keen to start and am still happy about that.

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

The advice I would give to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work as I is to make sure you have experience of the challenges of the role before committing to employment. This is a very demanding job which impacts on all areas of your life and you have to be confident that it is what you want to do.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth helped me to link up with different agencies and gave me a broad range of placement opportunities. The library and study resources helped me to complete assignments and there was always staff on hand to offer advice and support.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

My favourite memory of studying at Plymouth was the feeling of completing assignments and looking forward to getting results. I found the cycle of feedback helpful and it gave me the opportunity to progress my learning, whatever the outcome of my results. I also loved the graduation ceremony and the feeling of completing the course!

Do you stay in touch with other University of Plymouth alumni or lecturers?

I remain in contact with some of the teaching staff and some of my university peers are colleagues of mine now. I’m really pleased to keep in touch with them and to have the support of people I studied with.

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

I would recommend undertaking the course I completed at the University of Plymouth because it gave me the opportunity to have real life experience of the social work role and the quality of my placements have certainly helped me to get employment.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

The advice I would give now to anyone contemplating or undertaking the course is to look after yourself and make the most of your study as it will set you up for the rest of your career.

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.