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June 2018

Think Ahead announces Middlesex University as new academic partner

Following our recent call for applications from academic institutions, we are pleased to announce that we are working with Middlesex University on a plan for them to deliver the academic elements of the Think Ahead programme for our intakes in 2019 and 2020.

We received very strong proposals from a range of institutions, demonstrating the vibrancy and innovation present across the social work research and teaching community.

We are excited to be working with Middlesex. They have a track record of innovation in social work teaching, including their involvement in Step Up to Social Work and the North London Social Work Teaching Partnership, and developing their own accelerated master’s programme. They carry out leading research, such as their national project to assess the effectiveness of the Open Dialogue approach. And their social work and mental health expertise is integrated within one department, together with a dedicated Co-Production in Mental Health Research Centre, making their approach a perfect fit for the Think Ahead programme.

Professor Carmel Clancy, who heads the Department of Mental Health and Social Work at Middlesex and will lead their work with Think Ahead, said: “We are so excited to have the opportunity to be part of Think Ahead’s work to improve the experience of people who use mental health services. We believe that the social work profession plays an essential role in mental health, and we are committed to elevating the role of the mental health social worker through expert knowledge and training.”

Think Ahead’s current academic team, from the Universities of York and Central Lancashire, will continue to deliver the academic teaching and support for the 2016 and 2017 intakes who are already on our programme, and the 2018 intake who start this July.

Professor Martin Webber, our academic lead from the University of York, said: “It has been a pleasure to develop the Think Ahead curriculum and lead the partnership between the University of York and the University of Central Lancashire that is delivering the first three cohorts. We have brought innovation to the training of mental health social workers, both by integrating practice and academic learning and by putting the latest social work research into practice. For example, Think Ahead participants have now demonstrated that the Connecting People Intervention – an approach to engage people with their communities that was developed at the Universities of York and Central Lancashire – can be used routinely in mental health social work to improve outcomes for service users.”

Think Ahead’s Co-Chief Executive, Natalie Acton, expressed our gratitude to our current academic partners and our excitement for the future. She said: “We are excited about working with Middlesex University, and the innovation and expertise they will bring to teaching the participants who will join our programme in 2019 and 2020. As we embark on this next phase, we remain hugely grateful to the dedicated and expert professionals from the Universities of York and Central Lancashire who have worked with us to build the programme from scratch. Without them, there would be no Think Ahead programme.”

Professor Clancy also expressed her admiration for the current academic team, adding: “We look forward to building on the outstanding work of colleagues at the Universities of York and Central Lancashire, as we continue their focus on pushing the boundaries of social work education.”