Student social worker from Bedfordshire wins top award

Sian Miljkovic at The Social Worker of the Year awards 2018
Sian Miljkovic at The Social Worker of the Year awards 2018

A student social worker from Central Bedfordshire Council has received national recognition after winning a top prize at a professional awards event.

Sian Miljkovic, who works at the local authority and also studies at the University of Bedfordshire, won the Student Social Worker of the Year award at the the Social Worker of the Year Awards held in London.

The award recognises university students studying social work who are showing outstanding potential in their studies, with Sian also undertaking a new two-year undergraduate social work degree developed by Central ‘shadow’ Teaching Partnership and the University of Bedfordshire. She will graduate early in 2019.

Sian said: “I’m really shocked to have won this award. I have worked in social work for a long time but studying social care is a learning journey, not like anything else, and it’s had a massive impact on me. As a student, you are often presented with the negative side of social work and learning how not to do things, so to be part of such a large celebration was amazing!”

She added that the support of colleagues and educators has been, “imperative to achieving this award.”

Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, Cllr Steve Dixon, said: “I would like to congratulate Sian on winning this award. This is a fitting tribute to the excellent work she does, both at Central Bedfordshire Council and on her degree programme with the University of Bedfordshire.”

The University of Bedfordshire’s Head of School for Applied Social Studies, Dr Louise Grant, said: “We are absolutely delighted that one of our students has been awarded this prestigious award. We are very proud of the Social Work education we provide, and Sian is an excellent ambassador for the social work profession. We wish her and her fellow students good luck in their careers and are sure they will thrive and continue to be role models for their profession and the University.”

Sian was presented with her award by care leaver and BBC news reporter, Ashley John-Baptiste before an audience of over 450 social workers and representatives of the profession. The Social Worker of the Year Awards were founded in 2006 by independent practitioner, Beverley Williams MBE, with the aim of improving the understanding and reputation of the profession.

This year the awards received a record-breaking number of nominations and 93 social workers and social work teams in both children’s and adult services were selected as finalists across 16 different categories.