Students travel to Prague for street work project
The intensive programme, organised by Darren Hill and Dr Erika Laredo at Leeds Metropolitan, allows a total of 40 students from four universities (which also include Universitat de Barcelona, Hogeschool Van Amsterdam and Univerzita Karlova v Praze in Prague) to work with academics and practitioners on a shared learning experience.
The ten students chosen from Leeds Metropolitan are on a range of courses, including youth work, social work, sociology, politics and global ethics. They have all previously studied issues such as homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, and will be using the programme to learn advanced skills in turning research into practice.
Alongside them will be practitioners including John Walsh, Mental Health Support Worker for York Street Health Practice, part of the Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, and Jo Smith, Social Care Worker for Leeds City Council. John and Jo have worked together extensively, promoting the benefits of collaborative health and social care when working with vulnerable people in the community. They were selected to take part in the programme to contribute their experiences of integrated care training and to show how health and social care workers can learn from each other.
Senior Lecturer in Social Work and co-organiser of the programme, Darren Hill, commented: "The students and staff will be studying international street work, visiting homeless projects in Prague, designing research proposals and sharing their skills and experiences. We hope that it will encourage the students to go into Masters degree-level study and move into street work practice. By drawing together a range of academics and professionals across a variety of disciplines, we aim to address the new knowledge and skills that professionals working within a street context will require over the next decade."
John Walsh added: "This is a great opportunity to share what Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Adult Social Care do in Leeds. We, along with our colleagues in academia, will seek to have the discussion of how, across Europe, we can look for the best models for caring for the most vulnerable. Leeds has a great deal to contribute to this dialogue and we hope to be ambassadors of this work and success."
Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council's executive member for adult social care, added: "Our city's outstanding track record for innovation and integration has seen us recognised nationally as a pioneer in the way we care for our most vulnerable residents.
"We're proud to be able to share some of our knowledge and experience with colleagues in Europe whilst taking the chance to talk about new ideas and models. This way we can learn from one another and ensure that we're all in the best position possible to care for those who need it the most."
The project forms part of a three-year Erasmus-funded Intensive Programme (IP) which began in 2013, with students and practitioners convening at a different partner university each year.