Nazma Liaqat was awarded the ‘support worker for the North’ accolade at the Children and Young People Awards 2021, which was held in-person at a ceremony in Birmingham.
Her support worker role with Foster Care Associates in South Yorkshire was made permanent this year after a successful practice placement, where she provides practical and emotional support to the children in care so that they have a better quality of life. This includes organising annual events such as achievement days and trips to theme parks, and she provides hundreds of personalised achievement hampers to celebrate their successes. The children’s wellbeing is at the heart of the work that Nazma carries out.
The Children and Young People Awards celebrate excellence in social care, and the support worker award recognises the crucial role support workers play in providing high-quality care for children, young people and families. A commitment to person-centred approaches and advocacy alongside dedication and team working were important criteria for the judges.
Nazma said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won the support worker award! There were so many inspiring individuals nominated for the awards and I never thought I’d win, so it just goes to show that dreams can come true. I am really passionate about helping children in foster care and bringing a little joy to their days, and the team at Sheffield Hallam recognised this was my area of interest and ensured I received lots of experience in this field during my foundation degree. I’m really excited to progress my career as a support worker and continue my studies for the honours degree.”
The Children and Young People Awards judges commented: “Naz is personable, extremely hardworking and completely dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable young children. She gave numerous examples of going above and beyond and thinking outside of the box. Outstanding!”
Nazma completed a foundation degree in Working with Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield Hallam University this year and is now studying to progress this qualification to a BA honours degree. She graduated from her foundation degree last week at Sheffield Hallam’s class of 2020 and 2021 graduation ceremonies, which are being held at Ponds Forge throughout November.
Paula Green, senior lecturer in social work and course leader at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “As a team we are hugely proud of what Naz has achieved. Naz studied for her foundation degree part-time over three years while working and is now in her final year of study. Naz is passionate about working with families. She is enthusiastic, contributes positively in class and has formed lasting connections with her fellow students. Her exuberance is infectious – for both study and work – it is no surprise she was chosen for this award. We wish her every success for her future career.”
The Sheffield Hallam course provides the skills for graduates to work with children, young people and families, with a focus on subjects such as safeguarding, child development and parenting alongside interdisciplinary modules and work placements. Students often progress into specific areas of practice like social work, teaching and childhood studies or enter frontline practice working with families in a range of education, health and social care, or voluntary and community settings.