Here at Blue Sky, we are always delighted to celebrate the successes of the children and young people in our care, of our foster carers and their families and also of our staff and their families.
Today, it’s the turn of staff member, Nick Crabbe, who graduated, recently, following the completion of his Bachelor of Arts (Open University Honours) in Social Work.
We’re immensely proud of Nick so we caught up with him for a chat about his road to becoming a fully qualified social worker.
Have you always worked with children and young people?
“My working life has been so varied to date, but funnily enough, everything I’ve done has given me transferrable skills that have helped me to help our foster children and their carers! To begin with, I gained my Bachelor of Education which enabled me to teach in primary schools, but life was to take me in another direction and after working for a few terms as a supply teacher in schools in London, I joined my former wife’s family business and became a plumber! I’ve fostered too; with West Sussex, so I really know what it’s like to care for vulnerable young people and to support them through unsettling times. Fostering is an unbelievably rewarding experience.”
“Helping young people must be in my blood, because, back in 2007, I found myself returning to work with them as a social work assistant with Blue Sky.”
What encouraged you to study for your degree in social work?
“From day one with Blue Sky, I knew the importance the organisation placed on training. Everyone is encouraged to be the best they can be and expand their knowledge, both professionally and personally, so when the opportunity arose for me to go back to uni, I was pleased to take it."
How did you balance your studying, your work and your social life?
“Balancing studying, work and my social life was a big challenge but the beauty of the Open University is that it offers fantastic support and flexibility; that was an immense help. Plus, I had the encouragement of my sister who was enormously helpful in proof reading my assignments. I was pleased to graduate at Milton Keynes Theatre, because that’s near to her home; it seemed only fair! My girlfriend came with me and I am deeply indebted to her, too, not only for her proof reading skills, but also for putting up with my stress and struggle though academia. A big ‘thank you’ to you both!"
Did the course cover a wide range of subjects?
“Yes, the great thing about studying is that it opens your eyes to things my may not see otherwise. My final year placement, in an adult mental health team, was a fantastic experience. It opened my eyes to the struggle some people are facing on a daily basis which is right on our doorstep but hidden from view."
“I’d like to thank the teams I worked alongside; it was such a privilege to be allowed to be part of people’s lives and I shall never forget it but just for now, I plan to consolidate what I've learned and polish my social work skill. Also, I’ll continue as lead singer in my band, ‘Hotheads’. The band has been vital in giving me an outlet away from social work and studying and it has allowed me to have an alter-ego which has helped me unwind and relax.”
“I'd like to offer a huge thank you to Simon, Blue Sky’s CEO, for agreeing to put me through the training and I’d like to thank everyone at Blue Sky who has encouraged and supported me. It wasn't easy but I feel that I've arrived where I need to be and am looking forward to continuing with the good work Blue Sky accomplishes every day.”
Nick’s band, Hotheads, is based in Southampton and plays at pubs, clubs and private functions across Hampshire and Dorset, offering a good mix of oldies and modern classics. Visit the band’s website to find out more! If you would you like to be part of an organisation that’s growing and evolving but retains its ‘family’ feel, why not visit our careers page, today?