This year the judging panel chose a recent graduate to be our "Alumnus of the Year". Jamie Stone graduated in 2013 from the School of Health and Social Work with a BSc in Social Work.
Since leaving Hatfield, Jamie has worked for Hertfordshire County Council (a key stakeholder in the University's Social Work degree course) supporting adults with a learning disability in the Dacorum area.
On 28 November 2014 Jamie, who had been recommended and short-listed for the very prestigious national award of "2014 Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year (Adults)" category, was presented with the award at a ceremony at the Lancaster Hotel, London. The awarding body stated that his nomination was described by their judges as "beautiful, inspiring, loaded with values and integrity".
The Social Worker of the Year Awards website stated, "In particular, the panel were impressed with his imaginative thinking while working with a service user with severe agoraphobia. By using a Wii consul and sports games, Jamie encouraged him to leave the house to increase his score on a walking game and making huge steps that more experienced social workers had failed to achieve".
Commenting on his award, Jamie said, "It's very humbling for my work to be appreciated in this way. It's great to see social work, a profession which usually gets a lot of bad publicity, receive some positive press".
In February 2015, Jamie Stone (with other national award winners) was invited to a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons and was congratulated by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP, and by Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults.
Describing Jamie, the Community Care website states, "In addition to his day-to-day caseload, Jamie has also taken a lead role in promoting voting rights for people with disabilities, an issue close to his heart. He co-led a workshop with a national charity at Hertfordshire's community conference in March. It was one of the best attended sessions of the day and he is now working to develop a countrywide programme. Jamie has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of service users".
In selecting Jamie Stone to be the 2015 "Alumnus of the Year", the judging panel believed that Jamie is a real inspiration to the University's students and demonstrated that you do not necessarily have to be in a profession for many years to make a real impact on people's lives.