Keystage Housing forms partnership with Hertfordshire University to offer unique experience for student social workers

Keystage Housing is excited to have formed a new partnership with Hertfordshire University to support student social worker placements.  

Last year we welcomed two students on placement with Keystage and offered them a placement at HARRP Luton. The service has provided accommodation and resettlement support to more than 650 individuals experiencing or at risk of rough sleeping in Luton since Aug 2019. 

Jane Foster, Community Engagement Manager at Keystage Housing, said: “It has given them the experience of front line working, a unique opportunity to be provided training and experiences of supporting people experiencing homelessness into an accommodation pathway. 

“They have all enjoyed the experience and it is something we will repeat in the future.” 

The placements, for second-year BSC honours students, lasted 70 days and will count towards their degree.  

Jane said the placements gave the students a real insight into the industry, but also helped raise awareness of the work carried out by Keystage Housing and the wider partnership in Luton to tackle homelessness. 

Monika, one of the students who joined us for a placement at our Homeless Assessment Rapid Resettlement Pathway (HARRP) in Luton, said she benefited from the experience.  

“The amazing HARRP staff made my experince memorable. They were always supportive in my learning journey. They explained things I needed to know and provided answers to my questions.”

Monika – student

“I learned a lot during my placement at HARRP, such as understanding policies and how it underpins my practice, reviews, role plays, meetings, face to face training, referrals and professional working all through observation and shadowing staff,” she said.  

Monika spoke highly of the staff and service users she worked with, saying: “The amazing HARRP staff made my experience memorable. The staff were always supportive in my learning journey. They explained things that I needed to know and provided answers to my questions during observation and shadowing of staff. 

“Service users were friendly, approachable and engaging during my observation and shadowing.” 

Tahmina, another student also at HARRP, said staff were “friendly and welcoming” during her placement.  

She added: “They always offered support and provided advice when I required it. Also, the service users have been approachable and were happy to answer any questions that I had. In particular, the training opportunities have been valuable, and I have learnt a lot from them, certainly helping me for future practice.” 

Read more about our in-house training programme here.

Tahmina said the placement gave her a “greater insight about rough sleepers and the importance of multi-agency working to support them”.  

Dave, a Social Worker and Off-Site Practice Educator for Keystage, said the placements offered students “invaluable learning” about working with and supporting people who face homelessness.  

He added: “The learning helped the students see the person as an individual, to understand their needs, wishes and aspirations. The training provided to students has been excellent and helped develop their own working skills to promote and support the rights of people facing different levels of need.” 

If you know someone experiencing homelessness or who is at risk of rough sleeping, contact us to make a referal here.


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