Case study

Changing lives: student wins social care award

27 Mar 2017

A student from Mallaig has been named as the first ever recipient of an award recognising the skills and qualities valued in integrated health and social care.

Rita Yost, 29, completed an HNC in social care at the University of the Highlands and Islands. She was nominated for the Ina Maciver Award for her passion for social care, her practical and academic performance and her dedication to her studies.

The award has been established in memory of Ina Maciver, the university’s former subject network leader for health and social care, who was passionately devoted to learning, teaching and to students’ personal development. Sponsored by NHS Highland, the award will be presented to a University of the Highlands and Islands’ health or social care student each year.

Rita was nominated for the award by her personal academic tutor, Wilma MacDonald, who explained: “Rita travelled from Mallaig to Inverness College UHI each week to undertake her HNC. Throughout the year, she was conscientious, managed her workload well and demonstrated a real commitment to her studies. Her time keeping was excellent and she always had assignments in before the deadline. From the outset, Rita set herself high goals and was rewarded with an A grade.”

Wilma also commended Rita for her passion and practical work: “Rita is passionate about working with young people in care as she has been through the care system herself. She undertook a placement in a care home for children and young people in Fort William and flourished in this environment. Her supervisor praised her ability to fit into the team and for developing professional relationships with young people even though she is close to their age. It was evident that Rita embedded the values and principals of care throughout her practice.”

Rita was presented with a Quaich and a cheque for £100 by Professor Hugo van Woerden, director of public health and health policy at NHS Highland, at Inverness College UHI’s graduation ceremony in September 2016. Iain Maciver, who was Ina’s husband, travelled from his home on Lewis for the inaugural presentation of the award.

Speaking about the award Rita said: “I was quite shocked when I found out I had won, I really wasn't expecting it. Having good support from classmates and tutors and learning from their experiences and the work experience I was able to attend amplified that working in social care was what I really wanted, which gave me the drive to achieve the best I could. I have fulfilled my goal, as I am now a qualified, employed residential care worker thanks to the University of the Highlands and Islands. I would like to thank all my tutors throughout the year who saw the potential in me and put me forward for this award.” 

Professor Hugo van Woerden said: “NHS Highland is keen to recognise excellence in the care of patients and service users. We are sponsoring the Ina Maciver award because it has this important value at its heart. I lived in Mallaig for five years and am delighted that someone from there has won this award.”