1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Zahraa Adam, I am 24 years old and I am a Social Work graduate. Following graduation I was employed as a Social Worker with Essex County Council Social Services and recently have become a Senior Practitioner Social Worker. I work for the Looked After Children’s Specialist team and work directly with young people aged 0 to 18. I also specialise in the care of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Minors.
At the end of 2014, I completed my Assessed and Supported Year in Employment and won two national awards at the annual Social Worker of the Year Awards, I won UK’s Best New Social Worker and UK’s Best Overall Social Worker.
Alongside my everyday Social Work job, I participate in a lot of Social Work based extracurricular. I have appeared on BBC Essex radio as a discussion speaker, I also enjoy doing a variety of public speaking events talking about social work and the vulnerable people we work with. I get invited to speak at events where I am asked to prepare a bespoke piece of writing, usually a fictional poetry piece that I write specially for these events. I have had a feature and article in Stylist, which is a national magazine, and have done other features for other social work-based magazines and websites. I am regularly interviewed for my ideas and views on certain topics.
2. What is your fondest memory at Anglia Ruskin University?
The graduation ceremony is my fondest memory. It was a magical day and a proud moment for all students graduating. I think everyone will remember that day forever.
3. What advice would you give to current students as they're preparing to graduate?
Enjoy these moments and make the most of them, once you’re in the working world you will cherish these memories! Study as hard as you can and enjoy your achievements. For those of you who are hungry for opportunity, start the job search and be prepared to get stuck in once you’ve graduated. Take every opportunity you can, however big or small, it all counts as experience.
4. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst you were studying?
Education never stops, you will never know everything. Store everything you learn, knowledge is power, it’s not just to pass the exam or to get you through course work. That knowledge is your tool in the workforce and will stand you out against others in the field.
5. How did your time at Anglia Ruskin help you?
Independent study prepares you well for the real world. For social work specifically, Anglia Ruskin has good connections with local authorities and has a good placements team that can secure positions for you with some of the biggest companies in the field. They have good relationships and networks which provide good opportunities for students.
6. What did you love about your chosen course?
The debates and discussions we had during the degree opened my mind and challenged my personal views and opinions. It has allowed me to grow as a person and learn more about who I am.
Social Work has always been my passion and studying it at university has enhanced my love for the work I do.
Anglia Ruskin is a community and constantly growing. There are ample opportunities to study and socialise. It is fast becoming a popular choice amongst students and attracting a lot of attention.
8. In one word how would you describe Anglia?
9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?
I am surrounded by some incredible women who push me every day to be bigger and better. My manager at work, Sharon Turner, has been a constant driver since I started my career, which was while I was still a student. She has inspired me every day to challenge my thinking and explore ideas further. Sharon encourages me to always believe in myself and be confident in my convictions and she is always pushing me to achieve bigger things and continues to develop me and guides my growth, not only as a social worker but as a person. She is a brilliant manager, not just for me but the team she holds together. She inspires me every day to be just like her one day.
10. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I have recently been promoted to Senior Practitioner Social Worker which is a big achievement for me as I am always hungry for progression and ways to challenge myself. To be a Senior Practitioner, you have to be a qualified Social Worker for at least two years; I just completed my two years, in which I was always working towards this goal. I am one of the youngest in the role and that’s a big achievement.
11. What advice would you give your younger self?
Take some time to have fun. Especially at university, I was so focused on my career. I wish I had joined some societies or made more effort to create some more memories or friendships whilst there.
12. What drives you?
The children that I work with inspire me every day to fight for them and achieve the best outcomes for them, they enhance my passion for the work I do. Social Work in is my life passion, so it’s not just a job for me. It’s my career and vocation.
13. What’s next?
I am currently doing Social Work Modules to get my Masters in Advanced Social Work Practice. I am focusing on completing that as my current goal.