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  • 1. Creative practice and research synergies: changing lives through mentoring and listening to the voices of potentially excluded learners Nasra Bibi, Linda Douglas, Mo McPhail
  • 2. Identified need ….
    • BMEG - Black and Minority Ethnic
    • Action plan Sub-Group (SSSC 2006)
    • recommends:
    • Employers and education providers.. “ should promote the diversification of the social services workforce by
    • Considering what action they should take to encourage and support people from BME communities into the workforce , eg. Targeted trainee schemes, support for students applying to courses and while on courses”…..
  • 3. Research –based practice
    • 1. Educating Sita: Black and
    • Minority Ethnic entrants into
    • social work training in
    • Scotland ( Singh, 1999)
    • 2. Listening to the Silence; Black and Minority Ethnic People in Scotland talking about social work ( Singh, 2005)
  • 4. Educating Sita: Black and Minority Ethnic entrants into social work training in Scotland
    • An overview of social work
    • education for BME students in Scotland
    • in 1999 indicated;
    • “ the importance with which the issue of equal opportunities is taken by those involved in social work education and training in Scotland”…
    • And that “ policy and practices are of a piecemeal fashion, fragmented in approach and uncoordinated in strategy ” (Singh, 1999 p. 20)
  • 5. As a direct result of this research…
    • A consultancy service was set up for BME social work students
    • Characterised by;
    • Partnership with a community based Multi-Cultural family support and practice learning resource, a BME consultant and social work education providers
    • Partnership between 4 universities
    • A rolling programme of support and consultancy, based on a strengths based approach
    • See Seminar report :” Have we got it Right?( 2006)
  • 6. Listening to the Silence; Black and Minority Ethnic People in Scotland talking about social work (Singh, 2005)
    • An action research based approach, employing BME researchers to research within own community networks
    • Looked at historical context of social welfare and the context of racism in Scotland
    • Findings – difficult to get a clear perception, very vague notion of social work and some inaccurate ideas
    • Identified paradox that BME communities are the most disadvantaged communities across a range of domains but have little understanding or contact with social services
  • 7. Signposts from this research…
    • An understanding of the need for accurate
    • information of social work relevant to the needs of BME communities
    • Universities should develop links with local BME communities, developing networks and relationships, open day events, seminars in partnership with BME organisations
    • Social work programmes should consider how BME students are supported from access through to employment
    • Importance of a strengths based approach as opposed to a ‘deficit’ model
  • 8. The resultant model:
    • Partnership between social work providers and local BME organisations
    • Shared networking, community based Information Events
    • BME mentoring and language support services for BME learners
    • Theoretical basis : Black Community development model and a strengths based approach, in recognition of institutional barriers in predominately white education providers
    • Understanding of complexity of potentially excluded learners across race and ethnicity, gender, disability and socio-economic class
    • Importance of influencing a social services curriculum that connects to Scotland’s diverse communities
  • 9. Ideas into Practice – the Project Worker’s story
    • The experience of co-ordinating ideas into practice
    • Achievements and challenges
    • Focus on the voices of potentially excluded learners
  • 10. The experience of co-ordinating
  • 11. Ideas into practice
    • Taking a community development approach -Where in black people are the experts and catalyst for bringing about change, learning is a tool used to strengthen communities by improving people's knowledge, skills and confidence. organisational ability and resources.
    • Developing partnerships with mainstream providers was crucial in our overall goal regarding institutional responsibility and change
    • MCFB role in accessing community networks and history of working with local families, relationships built on trust.
    • Continuous evaluation with mentors and learners helped develop appropriate curriculum which does not place black people in the place of ‘other’ – different or deficient
    • Role of BME mentors and language support tutor evolved through experience, traditional concept of mentor didn’t transfer neatly to learners needs – mentors useful at different points
    • Language support tutor influenced curriculum content as a direct result of listening to the voices of learners
    • Importance of having BME mentors as positive role models.
  • 12. Challenges
    • Community Development with people who have been excluded is a long term process, doesn’t fit in neatly with a target driven economy
    • Encouraging an intersectional analysis of inequality and securing commitment to embedding learning within mainstream providers
    • Resources, adequate funding and time
  • 13. The voices of learners
    • “ I enjoyed Understanding Society because it made me think, read and write in English, but I could not do this course without the language support.”
    • Black learner
    • “ The Understanding Children reader was really good. It’s been useful for my own children and for my job as a crèche worker”
    • Black learner
      • ‘ For the first time a student used the telephone to communicate in English’.
      • ‘ A very shy woman now comes regularly into MCFB and communicates with Project staff’.
      • Feedback from mentors
    • “ I couldn’t have done it without all the support but I did do it”
  • 14. Participation
    • November 2005-March 2006
      • 9 participants in the first short course
    • September 2006-January 2007
      • 11 participants in the second series of courses
    • June 2007-October 2007
      • 6 participants in the third services of courses
    • Service users include 26 individuals from North African, Asian, and Polish backgrounds
  • 15. BME mentoring and support
    • The experience of mentoring/
    • consultancy
    • The experience of being a mentor
    • Focus on the voices of potentially
    • excluded learners
  • 16. Identifying individual and institutional challenges
    • Consider the following
    • case studies;
    • What action could be taken to support the BME students in these situations?
    • What action does the course provider need to consider?
    • What learning from this workshop can you take back and apply in your own organisation?