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Mum and daughter Melanie and Carys make a great social work team

LIKE mother, like daughter they say - except with Melanie Fletcher and Carys Gadd it's the other way round.

Melanie Fletcher and Carys Gadd

Carys, aged 23, qualified as a social worker two years ago from Plymouth University and now works in an older adults mental health team in Swansea.

Her mother Melanie, aged 42, is in her final year studying social work at Swansea University and wants to work with children and families.

Carys still lives at home with her mother ­- but when it comes to dishing out advice on the realities of the job, she's the one doing the talking.

"I have pre-warned my mum it is quite different when you qualify because of the pressure and accountability. Social work is always the topic of conversation when I get home from work. It is mostly about the different ways of working with children and adults."

Despite qualifying first Carys says her mother inspired her to go into social work.

She said: "She's been a single mother all my life and it was difficult for her bringing three children up.

"It gave me a true insight into the hardship people go through just to survive in society. Mum encouraged me to go into this profession. She thought I would be good with people.

"As soon as I started practising in my placement I realised it was the job for me."

For her part, Melanie says she was inspired by her daughter to study social work.

She said: "When I look back at the courage she had at 18 to go to university all on her own I thought 'if she did it, so can I'."

Melanie says she finds it helpful to come home from studying and "bounce off ideas" about social work with her daughter. As well as having her daughter by her side, Melanie also believes it's important for social workers to look after each other.

"I was a BASW student rep - that was something I put myself up for because I am passionate about social work and the difficulties they have out there.

"I had a very supportive family when I was bringing up my children on my own. Being able to see the support you can get in life - that is why I wanted to do that in my social work career."

Jane Harris, Cabinet Member for Services for Adults and Vulnerable People, said Carys and Melanie are great examples of the commitment and energy social workers in Swansea put into their jobs.

"The support they provide involves working with people and their carers to find out what their needs and expectations are as well other professionals and volunteers right across our communities.

"Social work is about making sure people have the help they require at the right time so they can gain or regain independence and control of their lives.

 "When I meet our social work teams I am always impressed by and proud of the work they do, supporting people to take steps that can truly transform their futures."

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