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January 2020

“We’ve been given the best start into the best career” – 2017 participants celebrate successful completion of the Think Ahead programme

Our 2017 Cohort celebrated completing the Think Ahead programme and joining our alumni network at an event in York yesterday. The participants joined the Think Ahead programme in the summer of 2017 and have since spent two years training and working as mental health social workers, while achieving a postgraduate diploma, and subsequently a master’s degree, in social work.

At the celebration event, members of our 2017 Cohort were joined by family and friends, Think Ahead staff, and our academic partners at the Universities of York and Central Lancashire.

Think Ahead’s Co-Chief Executive Ella Joseph thanked participants, friends and family, and the academic teams at the two universities. She said: “A massive congratulations and well done to all of you. It really is lovely to be able to celebrate all together today.”

She added: “When we started Think Ahead, we wanted to create a movement of people who believed in the same values and had the same vision as us, so thank you for joining the programme – and you’re now part of that broader movement, joining the alumni before you.”

The 2017 Cohort is the second cohort to complete the Think Ahead programme. By joining our alumni network, participants will be able to benefit from a range of professional, development and social opportunities.

The celebration event took place at the University of York, following the cohort’s master’s graduation ceremony. Professor Martin Webber, Professor of Social Work and academic lead for Think Ahead at the University of York, congratulated the participants and advised them to continue learning and developing: “My departing message is about staying curious… I’m sure each of you, in your own way, each day, will continue that learning process.”

Attendees also heard from some of the participants completing the Think Ahead programme, who reflected on the past two years. Suzanne said: “I really enjoyed what I was doing. I really enjoyed learning, the people I was working with and the people I was supporting – but there were times when it was really challenging.”

On her future plans, participant Hannah said: “I am happy to say that I remain working as a mental health social worker… I plan to train as an AMHP [Approved Mental Health Professional], and maybe as a Practice Educator one day and have my own students.” She added: “I hope to continue with the research I started whilst on the Think Ahead programme… it lit a flame in me in that I’d like to continue in research and social work.

“I’m extremely excited about what all of us now go on to do.”

Fellow participant Georgie told the audience: “Not only have we been given the best start into the best career, but also a cohort of incredibly amazing, fierce, justice-seeking individuals that all want to help their community one person at a time.”