A newly elected councillor from Carlisle was one of 1000 students to graduate in spectacular setting of Carlisle Cathedral last week.
Calvin Rodgerson, 21, from Carlisle was elected to the ward of Newtown and Morton North in May, and a mere two months later graduated with a degree in social work.
Calvin sees his role as councillor and his academic studies very much intertwined, believing social workers are often the last resort for the most vulnerable in society.
“I’ve always been really interested in politics and social work, ever since sixth form where I role-played being a social worker, and it was at that moment that I knew what I really wanted to do.
“Looking into it further, I really liked the idea that there was a profession out there that was fighting for social justice.
“Getting involved in politics and then linking it to social work was an accident really.
“I’d started working with the labour party, doing leaflets on a Saturday but then I started getting more and more involved to the point where I was leading sessions then I was asked to stand as a councillor last year and the rest is history.”
Now that Calvin has his degree under this belt and a bright future in politics ahead of him, he has signed up to a part-time MSc Applied Social Sciences at the University of Cumbria so that he can continue his educational pursuit in a manner that is manageable with his heavy workload as a councillor.
Matt Smith, Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Cumbria taught Calvin and saw his political interest increase over the duration the course.
He said: “Calvin has always had an interest in politics but that seems to have come to the forefront during the course. He’s very much focused on supporting people and combating and challenging inequality that he’s seen.
“As a social worker, he’s able to do that from an individual basis by working with service users to support people from a whole range of backgrounds.
“However he sees the link with his recent election so that he not only uses his knowledge from the course, but he also wants to try to make changes at a higher level to support the people of Carlisle.”
Calvin will be up for election next year and his goals are to eventually become an MP and pursue politics.
The university has a history of providing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce of social workers to the county. Estimates suggest at least 50% of social workers working for Cumbria County Council have been trained by the university.
Calvin graduated on Wednesday 17 July at 10am.