University of Wolverhampton Acknowledges Enduring Partnership with Progress

The University of Wolverhampton’s Social Work Department has proudly acknowledged its enduring partnership with Progress, marking four years of collaboration since 2020, and eight years specifically with the Progress Fostering Service. This partnership has become integral to the university’s social work education programme, providing students with invaluable real-world experience and mentorship.

At the heart of this collaboration is the mutual commitment to nurturing the next generation of social workers. Progress has consistently provided exemplary support, allowing students to develop their knowledge, skills, values, and overall capabilities. This partnership ensures that students receive comprehensive training to engage positively with both children and adults, a fundamental aspect of social work practice.

The social work process, from making referrals to carrying out assessments and interventions, mirrors the operations within social care providers like Progress. Through hands-on experience, students learn essential skills in working with children, young adults, vulnerable individuals and families, including risk management and support planning.

One of the key strengths of this partnership lies in its emphasis on practical learning. Progress facilitates opportunities for students to liaise with various agencies, honing their ability to collaborate and share information effectively. Additionally, students benefit from structured supervision and monitoring, ensuring they receive the support necessary for their growth and development.

Deborah Sharman, Practice Placement Development Worker at the University of Wolverhampton, expressed gratitude for Progress’ unwavering dedication to social work education.

“The contribution of Progress to the quality of social work education is invaluable. We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone at Progress for their ongoing support and commitment to shaping the future of our profession,” Deborah said.

Phil Mcdonald, Head of Adult Services at Progress expressed Progress’ joy in supporting social work students, especially in the area of gaining experience.

“We are more than happy to support students in gaining invaluable frontline experience, mentoring them specifically around the importance of relationships and how they can navigate challenges that can present themselves in working in social care and specifically social work.  Our partnership with the University of Wolverhampton has been consistent and vital to supporting the next generation of social workers,” Phil said.

Progress’ dedication to nurturing talent and fostering excellence in social work education is commendable. As the University of Wolverhampton continues to prioritise practical, hands-on learning experiences for its students, collaborations like this one will remain essential in preparing the next generation of social workers to make a positive impact in their communities.

What makes Progress Fostering Service truly special

Hi, my name is Bethany and as a recruiting and assessing social worker at Progress Fostering Service, I had the pleasure of being interviewed recently, and reflecting on the conversation, I’m reminded of what makes our agency truly special.

When asked what sets Progress apart, I found myself emphasising the family-like atmosphere we’ve cultivated. Our small team allows us to know each foster carer personally, meeting regularly to discuss any concerns or updates. This closeness fosters a supportive environment where everyone feels valued and understood.

As for what attracted me to social work and what continues to motivate me, it’s simple: I want to make a difference. I believe in the power of advocacy and the importance of being a consistent presence in a child’s life. Every child deserves to have their voice heard, and I strive to be that advocate for them.

The familial atmosphere, coupled with the unwavering support from management and colleagues, makes it a truly special place to work. Knowing each foster carer personally allows us to provide tailored support, ensuring that every child receives the best possible care.

As I reflect on the interview, I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for fostering and social work. It’s a privilege to be part of a service that prioritises the well-being of children and families above all else.

Find out more about our outstanding fostering service today. Visit:

A day at Oak Cottage: Progress’ Children’s Residential Service

Visiting Oak Cottage feels like stepping into a peaceful sanctuary where every child is welcomed, every voice is valued, and every moment is cherished. It’s a place where compassion, dedication, and commitment are woven into every interaction. 

The staff here aren’t just titles like support workers or managers; they’re companions on a journey with the children, showing empathy, respect, and genuine care. 

One morning, I joined a team meeting at Oak Cottage. While the team discussed passionately, the guinea pigs playing nearby provided a calming effect. The team’s focus was on providing exceptional care for the children, ensuring each child has memorable experiences daily. 

Each team member shared insights, all driven by a desire to provide the best care possible. Oak Cottage is a sanctuary where every individual is understood, supported, and uplifted. 

At its core, Oak Cottage believes in understanding everyone’s dreams and rights to a purposeful life. Challenges are seen as opportunities for growth, and every moment is cherished. 

Through care and companionship, Oak Cottage creates an environment where love prevails, forming strong bonds between staff and children. 

Within Oak Cottage, qualities like love, compassion, and resilience shape lives. Every interaction holds the power to transform, thanks to kindness and support. 

As the meeting ended, a sense of purpose lingered—a commitment to continue uplifting and empowering every soul at Oak Cottage. 

Oak Cottage isn’t just a service; it’s a beacon of hope, showing the transformative power of empathy and community. The sign at the door says it all: “Welcome to our home.” 

If you would like to find out about current opportunities at Oak Cottage or any of our other services, please visit or contact the Recruitment team directly on 01902 561 066 for a confidential chat about our roles.

From stay-at-home mum to vibrant team leader: Harjeet’s progress at Progress

“I do want to make a change. I want to be that person that that child can look up to, somebody that’s going to be there for them.” 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we shine a spotlight on Harjeet, a remarkable team leader at Progress Children’s Services. For this article, Harjeet shares insights into her career journey, the challenges she faced, and the importance of supporting women in the workplace. 

Harjeet’s journey into the social care sector was fuelled by a passion for making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and families. She reflects, “I always wanted to be that person that a child could look to, somebody that’s going to be there for them.” Despite the demanding nature of the job, Harjeet’s commitment to providing love, stability, and support to those in need has remained unwavering over the past six years. 

Although Harjeet has transitioned from a support worker to a team leader, encountering various challenges along the way, she found Progress at a jobs fair at a period when she was trying to get back to work after years of being a stay-at-home mother.  

Her instincts as a mum have also helped her to navigate complex situations with empathy and professionalism, earning her the respect and admiration of her colleagues. Beyond working with her colleagues, her passion for her role is to support and be the voice for the children under her care. Harjeet remarks, “I want to be able to advocate for them because they don’t always have that voice.”  

In her current role, Harjeet plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of her team and the delivery of high-quality services to the children under their care. 

One of the highlights of Harjeet’s career was being recognised for her outstanding contributions over the past five years during the awards ceremony at Progress Staff Conference 2023. Although she was not in the hall when her name was called, the resounding applause served as a testament to her hard work, dedication and warm personality. Despite the demanding nature of her job, Harjeet finds fulfilment in knowing that she is making a positive impact on the lives of others. And she is always wearing a smile. 

As we reflect on Harjeet’s journey, she personifies the resilience, strength and unlimited capabilities of women in leadership, particularly at Progress where women are encouraged and supported to aim higher. Harjeet acknowledged Progress’ support of her passions and desires to achieve her goals. While she remains ambitious, Harjeet reiterated her commitment to continuous development, and giving her best in her current position.  

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us honour Women of Progress like Harjeet who inspire us to dream big and break barriers.