My name is Wayne Martin and I am at the end of the first year of a two year social work MA program at the University of Salford.
I have just completed my first year placement where I worked for a voluntary agency where my role was to support asylum seekers and refugees as they are dispersed to the north of England.
This was a fantastic placement for me and I was fortunate to meet so many hard working selfless people, the type of people who roll up their sleeves when they are faced with a challenge and just get on with it.
I believe immigration to be a social work issue and I am interested in finding out about the level of engagement, from social workers in other countries, with asylum seekers and refugees. I think there is a need for the UK to do more about the difficulties faced by refugees as they seek to establish themselves in the UK and navigate their way through the bureaucracy involved in accessing housing, health care and benefits.
I like to think that I have had an interesting and diverse working life which includes seven years as a soldier, gold prospecting in Australia and driving road trains across the same continent. I have a degree in integrative psychotherapy and counselling and have been a teacher in adult education.
Before returning to university I was teaching on a research project that was designed to assess the impact of further education on people with mild to moderate mental health issues. I designed a program that drew on the principles of Neuro Linguistic Programming and used it to promote good mental health.
I have worked with male perpetrators of domestic abuse and supported families that have children with ADHD. I worked within the penal system for three years and it was my experiences there that led to my interest in social work.
Many of the men I worked with had suffered from some form of social injustice during their lifetime, whether it was poverty or exclusion and isolation, I think it contributed to their incarceration.
Besides my interest in immigration I only have two other aims for the conference. They are; to meet as many people as possible and learn as much as I can about how social work education differs from what is delivered in the UK. In lectures I hear the phrase ‘tensions in social’ often repeated and I want to know if this is a commonly used phrase within social work education.