Working for Progress: Bria’s Story

Bria joined Progress as a Student Fostering Social Worker and has become an important member of the team. We recently caught up with her to see how she’s been getting on in her new role and hear more about what attracted her to a career in Social Care.

“My Mum and my Stepdad are both social workers, so entering this world was a natural thing for me to do. Whether it’s helping an individual, families, or groups of people, I feel it’s important to look for ways that can improve people’s lives.

I did Health and Social care at school and through different experiences had worked with children too. By the time, I got to University my focus was to gain a degree that would enable me to develop a career in Social Work.

I did a BA in Primary Education at Birmingham City University and then followed this up with an MA in Social Work at Wolverhampton University. While at Wolverhampton, I was lucky enough to do over a hundred hours of placement within a Social Work setting. This gave me great exposure, but I still felt something was missing. It was great learning about aspects of the sector but being able to get hands-on experience is what I needed and wanted.

I came across the Progress Student Fostering Social Worker role via the internet and applied straight away. Having got through the recruitment process, I was delighted when I was offered the job. I could finally get stuck in!

Day one was nerve-racking, but since then I have had so many great experiences. From supporting and supervising foster carers to working with children and young people, it has been an eye-opener to see what fostering is all about. I have worked closely with four foster carer couples who represent a cross-section of society. To see them thanking you for your help is really humbling.

My colleagues at Progress are very supportive. Having been able to shadow them, I feel I’m now more informed about social work rather than having to infer things. For example, I’ve learnt to be professional in the circumstances you would normally let emotions get the better of you. Things like this are only learnt “on the job”.

Working for Progress allows you to grow your social and people skills. I have met a lot of interesting people whose lives we are impacting positively. My academic studies did not cover fostering in any detail, but my positive experiences with Progress means I’m positively reassessing my career and look at fostering as a career path.”

If you too would like develop your skills and build a career in social care, please click here to apply for one of our roles today.

What is the Hub?

We want the young people in our care to have a great start to life and are supported as much as possible.

We are continuously looking for areas where we can improve our services. This helps us achieve our goal of being the best we can be.

This is where The Hub comes in; created around four years ago after families and young people advised us they were not getting enough respite. Identifying the needs of the people in our care and their current levels of support, we were able to highlight where they needed an extra helping hand and adapted our services accordingly. Community support has grown substantially into a thriving umbrella of support.

We are always looking for creative ways to ensure young people are getting the most out of their support. Although each facet of the hub is different, each service feeds into the next. The goal was to create a wraparound approach so that we can provide holistic respite to all those that need it. Not to mention the added benefit of keeping costs down for Local Authority. Our four areas of The Hub are as follows:

Home Care or Community Support/Buddying

Our home care services are also focussed towards the young people out in the community. A committed support worker will spend time with them participating in activities they enjoy with the view to progress and enhance their lives. This type of support is an ongoing service, adapting to the young person as the complexity of their diagnosis changes and they get older. It’s all about giving them something fun to relish to provide them with a break from their typical routine and trying to help them live as normal a life as possible.

Community Activities

Across the Midlands, we enable young people to access community leisure and social facilities and also run a variety of activity groups. These groups are all about the children and young people socialising and having fun with peers of a similar age and mindset. Integrating young people with others that have comparable or varying disabilities gives them the confidence and the freedom to be themselves. They choose an activity for them all to enjoy and we go with it. It gives them the opportunity to let off steam in a controlled and supportive environment. Given that for the most part, the young people’s lives can be more rigid and structured than for those without disabilities, with boundaries and restraints. It’s nice to give them the chance to be as noisy as they want to be in a safe and nurturing environment.

Residential Overnight Short Breaks

We noticed a trend in the number of families of young people with complex care needs that needed short-term help and support. As a result, we launched our residential overnight short breaks service.

We have an outcome-oriented, activity-led approach with a core bank of staff that remain in the accommodation. The benefit is that even though the care isn’t continuous, the staff team is. They work closely with children and young people when they come and stay with us. This means not only is the level of care consistent, but the individual is familiar with their key workers.

Independence Training

As with most services within the organisation, our idea of our adult accommodation grew from the needs of one of the young people in our care. As he was getting older, we were becoming concerned about how his quality of life would be maintained when he outgrew Progress, so we decided we must tailor our services to adapt with him. Coming over a few nights a week to stay with us, gave mum and dad a bit of a break while he had a chance to socialise while getting the support he needed. He got to learn valuable life skills and domestic duties in the process and can arrange to attend with another young person and share the cost.

Our hub services have been put together with the aim to help children and young adults with disabilities get the absolute most from life. For more information, give us a call on 01902 561066 option 1, email or check out