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Our Winner’s Speech

Our Winner’s Speech

What a great honour. Thank you. To the other finalists – congratulations on your nominations and well done for your commitment to social work. I would like to acknowledge the Wadjuk Noongar people on whose land we meet on today. To elders in the room, please accept my respectful acknowledgement and to those who have gone before, I also pay my respects.
My apprenticeship for Social Work was driving taxis for three years. I learnt how to counsel, be calm in a crisis, be patient, empathic with a wide range of people and most of all I was able to hone my use of initiative. I also had plenty of time to think and to meet people who were socially isolated, addicted to various substances, suffering hurt, discrimination and very difficult personal circumstances.  A transition to Social Work seemed only natural.
Since the first day I walked into the Social Work Department at UWA and Judy in reception greeted me by name and welcomed me to the university I have felt nothing but at home in Social Work. I have found something that I am good at that fits with me and that enables me to do good.
Each day I am enthusiastic and energetic about my job. I have learnt the importance of taking care of myself to ensure that I am able to continue to take care of others.
I remember one of the lecturers at university saying that ‘Social Work is more than a job, it will influence your whole life’. This has certainly become true for me- I do leave work at work as much as possible, but the values and philosophies of social justice and making a positive difference in the world run through every part of my life. I would like to thank:
    • – Organising Committee and Sponsors of SWOTY – this event is one of the highlights of the Social Work calendar.
    • – WA staff for the Social Work Education.
    • – Tatenda Muchandibaya and others at Wanslea for the nomination.
    • – The dream team at Wanslea who fill me with pride and inspiration every day.
    • – Tricia Murray my boss for the last 15 years – for sticking by me and giving me the autonomy to be the creative professional I always wanted to be.
    • – Francis Lynch – my first placement supervisor and John Berger, my Coordinator and Mentor for a significant part of my Social Work journey.
    • – Dr Brenda Clare – for eight years of support and guidance during my PhD journey.
    • – My whole family- particularly my sister Sabena who was my inspiration to study Social Work, my parents Tom and Lore who are unendingly supportive, my beautiful, honest wife Michelle who reminds me of what is important and my wonderful daughters Tilly and Starley- when I look at you both I remember what the most important job for me is – to be the best father I can be.
  I would like to express what Social Work means to me in a song now. I would like you all to stand up and hold hands with the person next to you. Please sing along- this is a Pete Seeger song, We Shall Overcome – if you don’t know it don’t worry, you’ll soon get the hang of it. Let’s try and lift the roof off this auditorium!  
2016 WA Social Worker of the Year Winners Announced

2016 WA Social Worker of the Year Winners Announced

Five outstanding individuals were recognised tonight for their contribution to the professional of social work at the 2016 WA Social Worker of the Year Awards. Fifteen finalists across five categories were honoured in their respective fields, with Stephan Lund of Wanslea Family Services announced as the overall winner at Monday’s ceremony.  

Leading the Way Award

Sponsor: Richmond Wellbeing Finalists: Melissa Edwards, Stephan Lund, Wendy Butler WINNER – Stephan Lund, Wanslea  

Agent of Change Award

Sponsor: Wanslea Finalists: Emma Weaver, Gail Green, Dr. Michael Wright WINNER – Emma Weaver, Department for Child Protection and Family Support  

Head, Heart & Hands Award

Sponsor: Department for Child Protection and Family Support Finalists: Lisa Wittwer, Shirley Witko, Sue Galbraith WINNER – Sue Galbraith, Department for Child Protection and Family Support  

Rising Star Award

Sponsor: Communicare Finalists: Julie Verley, Kate Hannagan, Stan Chirenda WINNER – Julie Verley, Angelhands  

Rural & Remote Practitioner Award

Sponsor: Edith Cowan University Finalists: Natasha Bargeus, Marina Andrade, Quentin Richards WINNER – Marina Andrade, Kalgoorlie Hospital  
2016 Sponsor Breakfast Wrap Up

2016 Sponsor Breakfast Wrap Up

The sponsors and partners of the WA Social Worker of the Year Awards 2016 came together today for an early breakfast at the University Club of Western Australia in Crawley. There were 34 attendees in total, representing UWA, Curtin University, AASW, Wanslea, Communicare, Richmond Wellbeing, DCPFS, ECU, Anglicare, Uniting Care West, RUAH, Hesta and Centrecare. WA Social Worker of the Year committee members were also present at the breakfast to network, brief sponsors and indulge!

Delicious!

There were speeches from 2015 WA Social Worker of the Year Fran McGrath, Wanslea Agent of Change 2015 Award Winner Leanne Mirabella and Awards Patron Jan Stewart.  The event began with some pre-breakfast mingling in the foyer, before guests were ushered into the room for the breakfast. 2016 Organising Committee Chairperson Donna Chung welcomed sponsors and guests, and briefed sponsors on the Awards in 2016. Awards Patron, Jan Stewart also welcomed guests and spoke of the importance of social work. Following breakfast, Donna spoke again to further brief sponsors on benefits and requirements. The breakfast continued with a speech from Fran McGrath about her experience as a social worker, and what her role involves at this point in time. After, Leanne Mirabella spoke about her experience in the industry and what she has achieved. Donna closed the breakfast event, and passed on thanks once again to WA Social Worker of the Year sponsors and attendees.

Started in 2009 by founding partners the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), the University of Western Australia and Curtin University, the Awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge dedicated social workers across the state.

2015 WA Social Worker of the Year Fran McGrath

There are five award categories each offering a prize of $1,500, an Award trophy and two tickets to the Award ceremony. The overall winner will be named as the 2016 WA Social Worker of the Year and receive an additional $3,000 in prize money. Nominations can be completed online now and will remain open until March 8th with winners announced at the Award Ceremony in May. Those who successfully nominate a social worker will also receive tickets to the Awards Ceremony to join in a night of celebration with peers, family, friends, social work professionals and industry and government representatives.      
Wanslea Agent of Change 2015 Award Winner Leanne Mirabella

Wanslea Agent of Change 2015 Award Winner Leanne Mirabella

Nominate a social worker for the 2016 Awards

Nominate a social worker for the 2016 Awards

Do you know a dedicated social worker who deserves recognition? The WA Social Worker of the Year Awards want YOU to nominate them for an Award!

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Dedicated Social Worker wins Statewide Award for Excellence

Dedicated Social Worker wins Statewide Award for Excellence

DEDICATED SOCIAL WORKER WINS STATEWIDE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE Media Release Tuesday 9th June   Senior Social Worker Fran McGrath has been awarded the title of 2015 WA Social Worker of the Year at the sixth annual statewide awards, recognising social workers from across Western Australia. Continue Reading
Fran McGrath is 2015 WA Social Worker of the Year

Fran McGrath is 2015 WA Social Worker of the Year

SENIOR Social Worker Fran McGrath has been awarded the title of 2015 WA Social Worker of the Year at the sixth annual statewide awards, recognising social workers from across Western Australia.   Held on Monday night at the University of Western Australia, Ms. McGrath accepted the accolade to a room of heartfelt applause from peers, colleagues, family, friends and distinguished guests. Continue Reading
Finalists announced for 2015!

Finalists announced for 2015!

The 2015 WA Social Worker of the Year Awards Committee has announced the finalists who will be honoured at this year’s ceremony to be held on Monday the 8th June at the University of Western Australia.

Held annually since 2009, the Awards in 2015 will not only showcase the heartwarming stories behind this year’s finalists but will include a 50 year history of social work in WA since the introduction of the Masters of Social Work to UWA in 1965.

The evening provides an opportunity to acknowledge dedicated social workers that have made a significant impact to the everyday lives of West Australians. The Awards demonstrate to the wider community how the profession of social work makes a huge positive contribution to our society.

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South West Launch an inspirational success

South West Launch an inspirational success

The ECU School of Social Work in Bunbury played host last week to the first ever South West Launch event for the WA Social Worker of the Year Awards celebrating social work in WA.   An intimate evening attended by social work professionals, students, industry representatives and sponsors of the Awards, the South West Launch celebrated the diverse, unique and often very challenging role taken on by social workers in more rural and remote locations throughout WA. Continue Reading
A touching address from Pippa Blackburn

A touching address from Pippa Blackburn

Our 2014 WA Social Worker of the Year and ECU Rural and Remote Award winner Pippa Blackburn recently addressed our South West launch with a touching and heartfelt speech that moved an entire room to tears. Pippa has kindly provided us with a copy of her inspiring speech with uplifting stories and an insight into social work in rural and remote locations. We highly recommend you take a read! Thank you again Pippa, your beautiful words with stay with us long after this event. Read the speech here. Continue Reading
Awards call on public to nominate WA social workers

Awards call on public to nominate WA social workers

The WA Social Worker of the Year Awards are calling on the peers, family, friends and colleagues of passionate, dedicated and inspiring social workers to nominate them for recognition in the 2015 Awards. Continue Reading