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Leon Breheney

Leon Breheney

Social Work (BA Hons)

Former hair and beauty therapist Leon discovered his passion for social work when he started the adoption process for his daughter in 2018. Having had a glimpse into the role of a social worker and the huge impact they make on people’s lives, Leon made the decision to pursue Social Work BA (Hons) at Bradford as the gateway into a long-term career choice.

This is his story…

Years of experience

"I started out working in care homes and ended up in management. I loved looking after elderly people and making sure they had the best possible care in later life; I used to do the residents’ hair and nails to make them feel better. That led me to start my own hair and beauty salon, which I figured was another kind of helping people. I did that for nearly 10 years."

Lifechanging event

"After we got married, my husband and I decided we wanted to have a child. We started the adoption process in 2018, and our daughter was born in 2021. We acted as foster carers to our daughter while assessments were carried out on her birth parents, and I spent a lot of time with the family and social workers. 

"I decided then that I wanted to help more people like this. I spoke to my social worker about it, as she was really honest and I knew she’d be straight about whether she thought it was for me.

"She said wholeheartedly that she knew I could do it."

A student smiling at the camera

Recognising personal qualities

"I chose the Social Work degree at the University of Bradford because they recognised that I had Level 2, 3 and 4 in Health and Social Care but not necessarily the academic qualifications required. They looked at my life experience and character instead, and I loved that.

"Social Work can be quite hard to get on to as there’s the educational requirements and then it really delves into what you can offer as a person. The interview was pretty daunting, but I was so pleased to be accepted onto the course.

"The course has been genuinely brilliant. I started out with a goal to work in child protection or adoption, but the course has opened my eyes to so many different areas of social work. I’m going to explore all options over the next few years.

"The best bits about the course for me so far has been the student engagement, and how the lecturers really adapt their teaching to your learning style."

The University has amazing links within the local authority.

Strong foundations

"It’s all about setting foundations in the first year and learning the theory of social work, but this year we do a total of 70 days on placement. The University gets you good quality placements as they’ve got such good links with local authorities and charities. I’m looking forward to acting as a student social worker in different professional settings."

A student smiling at the camera
I've had to pinch myself. I never thought I'd go to Uni!

Find courage through great support

"Everyone on my course is great, we’ve built a strong connection with each other. It’s a mixed age group, with a lot of older people with experience, so it was quite easy for me to adapt as a mature student.

"I’ve had so much support from my lecturers and peers, it’s made me more confident as a person. I think when people see something within you, it gives you a real boost. I put myself forward for more opportunities and do loads of extra-curricular activities, including being the President of the Social Justice Society.

"We help people in poverty and tackle social inequalities. It’s really opened my eyes to social issues and government inadequacies."

A student smiling at the camera in front of a brick wall in the background