London Met hosts panel discussion on racial equity and career progression in social work

Last September saw social work professionals from across London boroughs and London Met come together to share lessons on creating a more inclusive workplace.

Date: 4 October 2022

London Met recently hosted the social work celebration event for social work professionals and their managers from the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets, together with the University of East London.

The full-day event was an opportunity to connect, exchange knowledge and share lessons on creating a more inclusive workplace with colleagues across the North East London Social Work Teaching Partnership (NELTP)

One of the highlights of the event was the Racial Equity and Career Progression in Social Work Panel Discussion hosted by Mark Wheeler, Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Mental Health from the University of East London. The panel is a part of the impact phase of the research project, which is a collaboration between the University of East London and London Met. Both universities look at progression and development opportunities for social work colleagues. The project aims to identify barriers and discriminatory practices preventing those from Black, Asian and/or minoritised ethnicity backgrounds from career progression.  

The panel included system-wide and intersectional perspectives by inviting directors of services, principal social workers, and researchers and by sharing the message from the social work professionals who participated in the research project. The core of the project team's aim is to include as many voices in this dialogue as possible.

Mark Wheeler, the leader of the project, said “we want to draw attention to the need for more authentic and decisive action to address the barriers to equitable career progression in social work.

The panel included Catherine Schumann, Senior Lecturer in Social Work from London Met and part of the research team, who added that “While racism and discrimination remain a part of lived experiences, dismantling racism and discrimination through establishing equality and equity, is at the heart of this project. This is a matter of social justice, and should be a personal commitment of all persons involved in constructing social work”.

John Solas, Ph.D. Research Degrees Lead, School of Education and Communities and Programme Lead, Doctor of Social Work, Department of Social Sciences and Social Work, UEL, added: “Racism and other forms of discrimination continue to plague minoritised groups seeking to advance their careers on an equal footing with the global majority. The point of this project is not merely to (re)describe the causes, but to rectify them”

If you are a social work professional who identifies as part of Black, Asian and/or minoritised ethnicity backgrounds, the research team would like you to invite you to complete the anonymous survey.