SWU is thrilled to announce the winners of our World Social Work Day 2023 Essay Assignment Competition

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

Four social work students / apprentices have won a prize of £500 each for their outstanding essays.

Congratulations to Aishah Zamir of the University of Birmingham, Melanie Barr of Anglia Ruskin University, Samantha Ncube of the University of Greenwich, and Natalie Cox of Nottingham Trent University who wrote the winning essays!

The SWU Assignment: World Social Work Day 2023 question was: 

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

Each winning entrant will receive £500. Thank you to all the social work students and apprentices who participated in the competition this year and shared their thought on this topic – your heartfelt essays on supporting and working with diverse communities are inspiring to read.

John McGowan, General Secretary of SWU, said, “I am delighted in the interest shown in this assignment. This topic of diverse communities and making change though joint social action appears to have been very popular this year and resonated with student social workers and apprentices who submitted quality entries.”

McGowan added, “SWU will continue to support diversity and work as a union to promote activism in this area. It is good to see that future social workers have a deep understanding of this, and this is important for new social workers.”

Click here to download the four winning essays as a PDF.

You can also click here to meet the markers for the 2023 SWU Assignment and read the winning essays from previous years.

Thank you to our panel of markers

Dave Callow, SWU Chair, remarked, “It was a pleasure to mark this year’s SWU Assignment entries focussing upon diversity and the role that social work can play in social action. The entries were well presented and offered the panel members areas to reflect upon further, a clear indication of the strength and depth of knowledge and understanding from future social workers with social justice at the centre of their practice. This was equally impressive and reassuring to be part of.”

Narinder Sidhu, BASW Cymru Professional Officer, said, “I welcomed the opportunity to be a marker in this competition and I was not disappointed. I enjoyed reading every single submission.  The four winners offered an enriched discussion with their own unique analysis of how important the role of a social worker is when supporting diverse communities which they successfully expressed using their knowledge, critical thinking skills and robust academic research. It is very rewarding to know that the entrants despite not all being winners are practitioners of tomorrow who at the early stages of their careers and already possess such an enriched insight into how best to support diverse communities and value joint social action. Thank you to all the students who submitted their essay and shared their thinking with us. It was a pleasure to read their work!”

Catherine John-Baptiste, Programme Lead for the MA in Social Work programme and Senior Lecturer at the University of Derby, commented, “I was delighted to have the opportunity to mark the SWU assignments; the depth of understanding, insight and analysis shown by the students was a pleasure to read. There were some excellent ideas on how media may be influenced, giving confidence that the social work voice could strengthen and the narrative may change to reflect that social work and social workers are brilliant.”

Winning quotes from the four winners

Aishah Zamir of the University of Birmingham said:

“An intersectional lens allows us to recognise where practices, policies and structures can increase the risk of discrimination and oppression so that as current and future social workers we can better inform our practice. Thank you to the Social Workers Union for allowing me the platform to discuss a vitally important issue. I am overjoyed and honoured to have my submission selected this year.”

Melanie Barr of Anglia Ruskin University said:

“I am excited to have written a winning entry and the topic highlights the importance of writing about and voicing social work views to inspire change. When writing I was thinking about participation and how everyone has a diverse range of experiences which have brought them to the field social work. As an apprentice, many of our cohort have lived experience in the field and bring a wealth of knowledge to share.”

Samantha Ncube of the University of Greenwich said:

“The SWU union competition was won by using the persuasive power of words, weaving my ideas and thoughts into a tapestry of motivation. Works of knowledge and advocacy we’re created with each sentence, winning the readers’ hearts and minds in the process. In this essay, I’ve demonstrated that success stems from more than just the words on the page—it also comes from the voice of change that reverberates far beyond the boundaries of this competition. As a champion, an advocate for change, and a living example of the transformational power of the written word, I stand today.”

Natalie Cox of Nottingham Trent University said:

“I am delighted and very honoured to have been chosen as a winner. This topic was very thought-provoking and really encouraged me to delve into the knowledge I have developed on my social work course, and really examine the practical applications of theory and research. Thank you so much, and I hope others find my thoughts helpful or interesting!”