Michelle Malcolm

Meet Michelle Malcolm. Michelle’s desire to address social inequalities has led her to pursue a career in social care. She is now a Social Worker for Hertfordshire County Council.

Read more stories BSc (Hons) Social Work
Current jobSocial Worker for Hertfordshire County Council
Year of graduation2023
Course of studyBSc Social Work
A picture of Michelle Malcolm

Making an impact

Michelle’s choice to study social work was driven by her desire to address social inequalities and her passion to have the skills and knowledge to effect meaningful change. It also served as a natural progression from her previous career as a social carer, offering an opportunity to further support vulnerable individuals and redress inequalities in society. Michelle was also attracted to the diverse career prospects that a BSc Social Work degree offers, which was important to her as she wanted to continue developing her career after taking a 16-year break to raise her children.

Studying at Herts

After researching different universities, she decided to apply to the University of Hertfordshire because of the high quality of teaching and student satisfaction. She later received an unconditional offer and went on to achieve first-class honours.

Returning to university after taking time out of her career presented a mixture of emotions for Michelle, including anxiety, uncertainty, and empowerment. Despite the challenges, Michelle felt extremely supported by her peer group and lecturers, which helped grow her confidence. She advocates for individuals of all ages to pursue a social work degree, highlighting that the profession is inclusive and values contributions from individuals at any stage of life. She describes the degree as having ‘no age limit’ and stresses the absence of ageism throughout her social work journey, underscoring the value of diverse perspectives in the field. She also goes on to say ‘you’re always valued, be fearless’.

Whilst studying at the University, Michelle particularly enjoyed the social policy, human development, and skill for practice modules, as well as the diverse range of lecturers and the quality of education. She also describes her placements that were set up for her by lecturer Careen Hanson as providing her with ‘invaluable, hands-on’ experiences that solidified her decision to pursue social work.

One of her favourite memories was forming friendships with her peers, most of whom she is still in touch with today.

Her career

Michelle is currently working as a Social Worker in Adult Social Care for Hertfordshire County Council and credits her course and placements for preparing her for this role and her ongoing professional practice. Michelle says her time at university ‘helped me learn to write critically, improving my case writing and analytical skills.’ Additionally, Michelle emphasises that despite entering a new profession in her 50s, she found her lived experiences assets rather than hindrances, offering a greater insight into societal issues.

Moving forward Michelle’s goal is to become a Best Interests Assessor within the next three years, a senior practitioner position focused on upholding the human rights of vulnerable people and working in partnership to ensure individuals are safeguarded.

Michelle’s advice

Michelle’s advice to students is to ‘make the most of 1-2-1 sessions with lecturers to discuss meeting the learning objectives for assignments and to improve writing and critical thinking skills’.

She also goes on to say, ‘I'd like to encourage people to embrace taking up a social work degree no matter what age, as it a profession for life’.