Paisley graduate Iona Colvin takes up Directorship of Social Services for North Ayrshire Council

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Social Science graduate Iona Colvin takes up Directorship of Social Services for North Ayrshire Council

Iona Colvin’s connection to social work goes deeper than the BA in Social Sciences she was awarded in 1981 from the then Paisley College. It’s very much in her blood as her father was a social worker, and his commitment shaped her thinking and her future degree and postgraduate studies.

Iona worked in social services in the residential sector, then in the voluntary sector. In 1983, she took up a post with Strathclyde Regional Council, which became Glasgow City Council, and was with them for 27 years in varying roles.

Her most recent position was as Director of Community Health and Care Partnership, managing all community-based NHS Health and Council social work services for the South West of Glasgow area.

“I’ve worked consistently in the addiction field working with people with drug and alcohol problems. It’s absolutely critical these days, as it’s at the root of a lot of the issues we deal with in social services.

Almost all our childcare work and much of our offending work is down to drug and alcohol problems. When people do make progress you really do see a huge difference and that’s very rewarding, but yes it is quite challenging. For most people who work in social work it’s about trying to make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

The new post in North Ayrshire is a similar size of job to Iona’s last position but is exclusively focused on social work.

“It’s a good area to work in, there is lots of opportunities in North Ayrshire and the size of the area means that you feel we can actually change things and make things different for as many individuals as possible. There are big challenges in North Ayrshire and there are high levels of poverty. It’s also a beautiful tourist area, we’ve got everything from the Isle of Arran to the more industrial areas on the mainland. It’s nice to work on a more local basis.”

“A lot of what I studied in my Social Sciences degree at Paisley is so relevant to the job I am doing today. I recently had a conversation with somebody about why working class children under-achieve at school. That was one of the questions I wrote an essay on in my first term at Paisley. It gave you a good grounding in Social Sciences which is what you need to do social work.

I was also heavily involved in politics. I was President of the Students’Association and a member of the NUS Scottish Executive, and that was also a really important experience for me.”

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