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29 January 2024

Victoria: taking the next step in my career 

Victoria, a Pathway 1 leader, highlights the community of leaders she met on the Pathways programme and how this network will support her moving forwards.

Victoria is a senior supervising social worker in Surrey County Council and in 2024 will mark her tenth year as a qualified social worker. She is passionate about her role and wants to create change to improve the service for children and families.  

We caught up with Victoria at the end of her Pathway 1 journey to find out what impact the Pathways programme has had for her.  

What three key things stood out to you from the Pathways programme? 

  1. Impactful coaching  
    My coaching sessions were amazing. After almost a decade in social work I have never had that space to think about my role as a social worker and my career progression. My coach gave me that time to think about my short-term and long-term goals, which was challenging but also really helpful.

    From this I explored why I hadn’t thought about myself as a team manager before and came to the realisation that I had grown out of my role and wanted a new challenge. I hadn’t pushed myself before, but my coach supported me in this, helped me with my interview technique and I applied and got the role.  

    Each coaching session is tailored to you and what you need at that time which is great.  
  2. A community of leaders  
    The residential was the perfect opportunity to meet new people and to explore different topics, such as social graces and intersectionality.

    I was then able to further these new relationships by joining an online networking group around the topic of kinship care with other leaders. This allowed me to see how other local authorities are practicing, draw on different expertise in the group and bring this back to my team.

    For example, I met one social worker who specialised in supporting unaccompanied minors. Recently when working with an unaccompanied young person I’ve been in touch with her to ask about what resources are available for me to use to support this young person, which has been invaluable.

    Even though my time on Pathway 1 has now come to an end this network I’ve built will last beyond the programme. 
  3. Bringing my whole self to work
    At the residential we had a session on values and what values we bring to the role. From this I realised that the value that stood out most to me was my faith. I’d not really considered this as a value before, as it was just a part of me.

    However, when thinking about it I could see that from my faith I believe being compassionate, empathetic and nonjudgmental are all important. This session has subsequently made me more comfortable to talk about my faith at work and open up more to my team.  

How have you developed your leadership skills on the Pathways programme? 

As a result of taking part in Pathway 1, I’m now more aware and interested in strategic planning, the wider models used by my local authority and the impact this has on my team and the children and families we support. 

The Pathways programme has also made me think more about multi-agency working, how services work with each other and how we can make this better. 

Overall, change doesn’t happen on its own – I want to be part of this change, to improve the service for children and families. I’m certain that the community of leaders I’ve met as part of the Pathways programme will support me in this.