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Vanessa Ferguson

Associate Professor and MA Social Work Cambridge Course Lead

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Allied Health and Social Care

Vanessa has been a qualified social worker for over ten years, and before that had experience of working in primary schools and after school clubs. Vanessa’s social work practice centred on adult mental health, before the move into social work education.

Vanessa now has experience in developing technology, along with Paul Driver (senior learning technologist) for the education of social work students.


Vanessa worked in adult mental health for seven years, based in the community and then a psychiatric hospital. She also worked as an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP), adult safeguarding lead and was the team leader of an award winning Home Treatment Team (Home Treatment Accreditation Scheme awarded by the Royal College of Psychiatry).

Since joining Anglia Ruskin University Vanessa has run a successful skills based module for two years. Vanessa is a current Education Doctoral student, and has been appointed a Deputy Head of School within the faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care.

Research interests

Use of technology in the education of social work students.


  • Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice (ARDP)
  • Powers, Duties and Accountabilities (PDA)
  • Knowledge and Evidence in Practice
  • Well-Being Across the Lifecourse
  • Social Work with Adults
  • The Application of Theory to Social Work Practice


  • PG Cert in Higher Education (Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Masters Degree Social Work (Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Bachelors Degree Psychology and Sociology (Anglia Ruskin University)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Course leader for Mental Health Training for Hubei Delegates, 2019

Selected recent publications

Driver, P., Ferguson, V., 2019. Digitising Experience. The creation and application of immersive simulations in social work training. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 6(1-2).

Recent presentations and conferences

Overcoming Challenges in Research. 8th Annual Research Conference, ARU Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care, 6 May 2022.

Twelfth International Conference on Practice Learning and Teaching. St John’s College Oxford, Sept 2018 with Paul Driver - see 'selected recent publications'.