meet the trainers
Dr. Arlene Weekes – Social Work Manager, Researcher, Lecturer & Trainer
Arlene began her social work career in 1990 as a Probation Officer before moving into Children Services in 1999. Pre-qualification, she worked as an unqualified residential worker, with adults with learning difficulties as well as in mainstream children’s homes and in a drug rehabilitation centre for women. During her 30 years of practice, she has worked for the probation service, various Local Authorities, and The National Children’s Home charity. She worked through the ranks becoming a Service manager responsible for Child Protection, Looked After Children and Adoption & Fostering.
Since setting up her own Management & Training Consultancy company in 2005, Arlene has worked as a Child Protection Chair and IRO (for looked after children and foster carers) and has been the Independent Officer for a number of complaints. Between November 2009 – November 2012 her company managed one of the government’s pilot Social Work Practice units in London, providing Looked After Children’s services to 80 young people.
Arlene works as a Senior Lecturer for London South Bank University, alongside independent work. She has worked as a freelance trainer since 1997, delivering a wide variety of training relating to social work and foster care, with a particular interest in ensuring role clarity, safeguarding and equality.
Her passion for fostering and adoption is both personal and professional, having family members who were in private fostering arrangements in the 1960’s and friends and family members who have fostered and / or adopted, which meant Arlene was approved as a nominated carer. For the past 14 years she has been an independent adoption and fostering panel chair for both Local Authority and independent fostering agency panels. Arlene is a widow and has two adult children. When not working, Arlene enjoys ashtanga yoga, CrossFit, cooking and quilting. She has recently completed a Professional Doctorate in social woDrrk.
Simon Gledhill – Independent Social Worker, Foster Carer, Adopter & Trainer
Simon’s first career was in policing, serving for 7 years in a range of roles, primarily relating to family safeguarding, including working on secondment within a Local Authority Children’s Services team. Simon progressed to the rank of Sergeant, before becoming a foster carer and then changing careers to social work. He now works as an Independent Social Worker specialising in fostering recruitment and assessment.
Simon is an experienced panel Chair and has experience of sitting for the Independent Review Mechanism. He provides independent support to foster carers following allegations, and has experience as an Advanced Practitioner within a fostering recruitment team. Simon has a diploma in Therapeutic Life Story Work and is a ‘Rose Model’ practitioner.
Simon and his wife Laura have been fostering for 7 years. They have two birth children aged 10 and 11, two permanently placed foster children who are both aged 15, and one adopted child aged 4. Simon has significant experience of parenting children with additional needs including global developmental delay and Down Syndrome. Simon enjoys playing with all things technical and draws on this ability when designing training for online delivery.
To deliver exceptional training with a strong child focus.
To improve the lives of children and young people by better equipping their professionals and carers.