Meet the markers for the SWU Assignment: World Social Work Day 2023 Essay Competition

"Respecting diversity through joint social action" World Social Work Day, 21st March 2023 | #WSWD23 | IFSW, SWU

Social work students and apprentices be sure to send in your entries by 5pm on Friday June 23rd for the chance to win one of four grants of £500.

The Social Workers Union (SWU) is thrilled to introduce the marking panel for this year’s SWU Assignment essay competition. Narinder Sidhu, Catherine John-Baptiste, and Dave Callow are looking forwards to reading the responses from social work students and apprentices from across the UK to the question:

 “How can social workers best support the diverse communities across the UK who are making change through joint social action?”

Up to four of the most compelling arguments within the word limit of 750-1000 words will win a grant of £500 each. You can find further details and see winning essays from previous years on the SWU Assignment webpage.

Without further ado, meet the SWU Assignment 2023 markers:

Narinder Sidhu

A photo of Narinder Sidhu

Narinder Sidhu is a Professional Officer for BASW Cymru and a registered Social Worker who has worked in a range of clinical settings as a Forensic Social Worker and Mental Health Practitioner within the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). She is also a specialist lecturer, her areas of expertise include forensic social work, LGBTQIA+, intersectionality, cultural competence, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence, and female genital mutilation.

As a Professional Officer for BASW Cymru, Narinder works closely with Welsh Government, Social Care Wales, and other stakeholders creating positive and opportunities to create impactful change. Her commitment to supporting the social work profession and those who use social care services is outstanding. Narinder co-founded and co-chairs the BASW UK & SWU LGBTQIA+ Action Group. She is passionate about promoting working affirmatively with people from the LGBTQIA+ community. Narinder is also an active member of the BASW Cymru Anti-racist Action Group. She works with others to deliver the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan and is keen to challenge systemic discrimination.

Prior to her BASW Cymru role, Narinder taught social work law to undergraduate and post graduate students. She also taught the research module and practice modules on the Health & Social Care undergraduate programme. Narinder delivers training to organisations. Her most recent equality, diversity and inclusion training included ‘understanding gender identity’, ‘understanding sexual identity’, and ‘understanding intersectionality’. Narinder has been involved with many governmental consultations regarding race, gender, and sexual identity.

She encourages human connection and kindness to foster and support a sense of belonging for those she works with. In her spare time, she enjoys walking with her dogs, spending time with family, and kickboxing.

Catherine John-Baptiste

A photo of Catherine John-Baptiste

Catherine John-Baptiste is a Programme Lead for the MA in Social Work programme and Senior Lecturer at the University of Derby. She is also the Admissions Tutor for both the BA and MA social work courses.  As the current Chair of the Race Equality Network, she is helping to implement the Race Equality Charter at her current university. 

She is module lead for the following subjects: Substance Use, Protecting and Safeguarding Children and Young People and the Independent Study assessment.  These modules allow the students to critically demonstrate knowledge and application of relevant legislation, policies and procedures and Social Work England Professional Standards.

A member of the D2N2 social work partnership which constitutes a collaboration between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, she is a member of the post-qualifying forum which looks at issues pertaining to newly qualified social workers.  The partnership consists of academics from the regional universities and practitioners from the statutory, private and voluntary sectors.

Catherine’s social work practice has included fostering, youth offending and running a drugs and sexual health agency in London.  She has previously worked for NSPCC Childline in primary schools teaching young children the signs of abuse and neglect and the support channels available to them.

Catherine is passionate about equality and inclusivity for all and is currently campaigning for British Sign Language to be included in all Health and Social Care/Work courses.

Dave Callow

Dave Callow is a qualified social worker, senior lecturer and programme lead for the MSc Social Work degree at the University of Lincoln, this being the same degree and institution he previously attended as a student. He is module lead for “Social Policy Issues through the Life Course” and “Human Rights, Social Justice and Wellbeing: A Global Social Work Perspective” in which both modules encourage students to consider the barriers that exist to inclusion and equity within society and to then demonstrate an analysis of the implications for social work and social work practice.  

Prior to moving to academia in 2021, Dave worked as a social worker within child protection teams across Lincolnshire. He has also overseen the day to day running of a young person’s supported accommodation homelessness project in his former capacity as senior project worker.

Dave joined SWU in 2018, achieved his Union Contact status in 2019 and then progressed via election to the SWU Executive Committee in 2020. Dave was elected SWU Chair in 2022.  

Dave is a dedicated trade union activist with specialist interests in the Labour Party, the balance between social work values and a practitioner’s personal values as well as social policy and the policy decisions upon society. Dave is a socialist and believes that social workers are well positioned in society to be agents of change.

“Hope is the fuel of progress and fear is the prison in which you put yourself.”

– Tony Benn