15 March 2022

Making Social Work ‘woke’: Practice, Policy, Possibilities


15 March 2022


The Grassroots’ Club



The event was held to celebrate World Social Work Day and as a tribute to Mrs Ann Elizabeth Wee and Dr Myrna Louise Blake. The aim was to inspire both practicing and aspiring social workers to the possibilities in social work practice. Esteemed guest speakers, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Dr Timothy Sim, and Dr Sudha Nair shared their experiences in being informed by their social work roots at community, policy and cross border platforms. The audience of invited guests comprised Social Work students from NUS, SUSS, NYP; Community Care and Social Services students from ITE; MOE Uplift staff; young professionals from SACA, SANA, SSO; partners from MSF and SINDA. A post-speech dialogue session was moderated by Ms Michelle Woodworth, fielding questions from the floor.





Participants from MOE’s UPLIFT programme indicated they had benefited greatly and learnt much from the seminar. They wanted to extend their appreciation to the speakers. Everyone felt that the energy, passion and anecdotes were inspiring, and the town-level coordinators came out feeling quite motivated. It was definitely an eye-opener, especially for their Education Officers who might not be as familiar with social work. In particular, 2M’s sharing on policy also broadened their perspectives, and helped to stitch the micro and macro perspectives of social work. Of course, there were very relatable points to the work of the town-level coordinators, such as building networks and working with partners to co-create solutions.



“The Social Workers’ Day seminar was a rather eye opening one. Initially going into social work, committing to the course here in ITE, I was filled with uncertainties and insecurities about whether this industry will really be a sustainable one in terms of income or even fulfilment. However, after attending the speech by the 3 very respected speakers, I am enlightened. They have showed me that social work is not only about helping your clients but it’s also about helping to change policies for the greater good of the people. Although, they are not the government, Social workers are out there on the ground listening and dealing with clients’ needs as a job. Thus, they would be the best person for whether certain intended policies actually work for the people. All in all, the seminar opened my eyes to what being a social worker can grow you to be as a person. I am definitely more certain about my choice of course and my career path in this social work industry.” (Jerald, JS21K)

“I’ve learnt that becoming a social worker isn’t about the credit or the position. It’s about creating change, creating a difference not just to an individual but to the society. This seminar really sparked my interest to be a social worker and I learnt that being a social worker is harder than what I studied in my school slides. My biggest takeaway from this seminar is that, being a social worker, it will be life changing because you’re always learning. Every client is different and every client has a different problem and therefore, you’ll forever be learning. It also breaks the stereotype in my head that I thought it’s always the social worker teaching. However, it goes both ways.” (Hadlyna JS21J)


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