Social Work Successes for Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway Council Social Work Services has gained another award and achieved a notable first.

The Scottish Association of Social Workers [SASW] has named Ruth Shipstone as its Practice Teacher of the Year.

Ruth was nominated by students and a panel of judges considered all the nominations and decided the award.

Ruth, social work practice teaching and development officer with Dumfries and Galloway Council, supports student and recently qualified social workers, seeks ways in which the Council can continue its well-established tradition of growing its own social workers, and promotes career development for social workers.


Catherine Vernon is the first social work student in Scotland to be supported by a local authority to study for a master’s degree in social work. She initially applied for the undergraduate programme but, because she already had a degree in psychology, it was felt that she could be the candidate who represented Dumfries and Galloway and The Open University in this exciting new scheme.

Catherine is currently on placement with Alzheimer Scotland, where she supports families affected by dementia. When she completes her master’s degree, she will be matched into a social work post with Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has, for many years, supported Social Work Services staff to study for professional qualifications through the Open University to enable them to become social workers.

Ruth said: “We were keen to promote the very successful studentship programme and to broaden it to include postgraduate study. Our Council is the first in Scotland to offer employees the opportunity to study for the Master of Arts in Social Work.”
Councillor Stephen Thompson, chair of the Social Work committee, said: “Ruth’s award is well-deserved and I congratulate her. Her journey to success in the Practice Learning Team is unique and shows that support is there for staff aiming to improve. Our Council prioritises support for our most vulnerable people, and nurturing and recognising good social work practice like Ruth’s helps our staff become more resilient to the challenges they face on a daily basis.”
Councillor David McKie, vice chair, said: “Social workers can make such positive difference in the lives of our most vulnerable people. So, must support learning and the pursuit of best practice. Unfortunately, social workers don’t always get the recognition or respect that their work merits. It is good to see the commitment and dedication of social work staff being recognised. My wholehearted congratulations to all involved”


Latest Articles