Meet the Team

 V. Cannon

Valerie Cannon

Principal Children and Families Social Worker


Valerie has worked in social care for 25 years, qualifying as a Social Worker in 1997 and gaining the Post Qualifying Award in Child Care in 2003. Her experience includes working with adults with a range of difficulties and, primarily, working with children and families. She has worked for North Yorkshire and Cornwall County Councils as a social worker and manager and for CAFCASS for 12 years as a practitioner, trainer, enhanced practitioner and manager.  Valerie develops and delivers training for Safelives and is a member of the Law Society’s Children’s Law Sub-committee.


 C. Lawson

Camilla Lawson

Workforce Development Administrator


Camilla has been working within Workforce Development for the past 12 years. She currently supports Verity Sutcliffe with the Learning and Development courses for Children’s Social Care. She will also assist Kasia with the Social Work traineeship and placements, ASYE scheme, post-qualifying programmes when the need arises. Camilla has been involved in a number of areas of training over the years, including; Corporate & Management training, Equality training and the Adult Care Management training. She has also worked with the Corporate Leadership Team organising numerous conferences and events. Camilla now works part-time as she has a family. She has two children, a girl aged 5 and a boy aged 19 months. She loves family time and is always kept busy! She loves to cook and bake, and is always happy with a full house of friends and family.


 S. Rogers

Sarah Rogers

Social Work Development Officer


Sarah has worked for Devon County Council in social care since 1989. Her first post being in admin as a district clerk shortly followed by an Occupational Therapy Assistant for both adults and children services. Following changes in the organisation, Sarah’s post was changed to that of a community care worker in adults until she undertook her social work degree at Plymouth University, qualifying in 2007 and from this point moved to children’s social work. Sarah has since worked in different areas of the service that include the safeguarding team (as it was known at the time), children with disabilities and additional needs and permanence and transition. On-going professional development has been high on Sarah’s agenda and she has completed the children and families specialist award and the practice educator’s award along with a range of available facilitated training. Sarah joined the team in February 2013 on a secondment with the main focus of her role as a mentor for NQSW’s on the ASYE program but undertakes a range of roles including practice educator and assessor for social work students.  


 A. Standon

Aaron Standon

Social Work Development Officer


Aaron has worked in many areas of social care in Bristol, Somerset, Plymouth and Devon. He qualified as the Children Act was being implemented (in 1990) and worked within Childcare social work in Somerset.  Since then he has worked in mental health, as both AMHP and team manager, with people who have a learning disability and with older adults.  He gained the Practice Teaching Award in 1998 and has worked with student social workers studying with the Open University, Plymouth and Bristol university.  Aaron was Head of Social Work for Torbay Care Trust for five years (where he had responsibility for supporting the implementation of the Personalisation agenda, the Mental Capacity Act and for Safeguarding Adults).    In 2011 Aaron successfully gained an MSc in Public Policy, this included a dissertation that analysed the strange and contradictory relationship between Human Need and health and social care services’ eligibility criteria.  In his spare time Aaron plays saxophone with the radical free jazz rock group the Bird Architects and enjoys travelling with Andrea, his partner.


 N. Stopard

Nigel Stopard

Head of the Academy


Nigel has worked in children’s social care since qualifying as a social worker in 1987. His work experience includes residential work with young people and statutory child care social work in Surrey and Devon. Nigel qualified as a practice teacher in 1993 and has worked with social work students and other learners in a variety of settings. He currently delivers the practice educator award locally in partnership with Plymouth City Council. Nigel maintains an on going commitment to professional development and has recently completed a PG Dip in leadership and management studies.



Verity Sutcliffe

Workforce Development Advisor


Verity has been working to develop the Children’s workforce in Devon for the past 8 years, initially for the Children’s Trust and since 2010 for children’s social care. Prior to this she worked for the NHS in both Devon and London on developing the health of the population with a specific focus on children, sexual and mental health. She has worked in South America as a teacher and for the Ministry of Education in Belize on the establishment of their Healthy Schools Programme. Verity gained an MSc in Health, Education and Training in 2001. She has a strong interest in research and evidence informed practice, her Masters dissertation examined the impact of the HIV virus on education systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Verity lives on Dartmoor with her partner and three children.  


N. Unstead 

Nick Unstead

Workforce Development Advisor


Nick has been employed by DCC for 12 years in the realm of training and development for children’s social care and adult social care workforce.
During that time he has worked with managers and staff to design and deliver learning to the workforce and have commissioned external training providers where necessary. With qualifications in Education , Training and Management and he is a keen advocate for ongoing professional development whether in social care or the wider workforce. Nick ran his own business for several years, providing qualifications to the private sector workforce across the SW of England. At a national level, he was a project manager for the creation of occupational standards for the drug &alcohol employment sector. Prior to that, Nick was a lecturer in Further Education, working in business development and with young people with learning difficulties.

Lorraine Williams

Senior Workforce Development Administrator

Lorraine joined the Social Work Academy Team in July 2016.  She has worked within social care in both Adults and Childrens Services continually for the last twelve years and therefore has a broad understanding of social care structure and function.  She coordinates the delivery of Social Work training and workforce development and is the point of contact for partner organisations and students.  In her spare time she enjoys furniture restoration with help from husband Shaun who is a cabinet maker, playing guitar, camping and travel.
 H. Williams

Herbi Williams

Social Work Development Officer


Herbi is a Practice Educator for NQSW’s and Social Work students. She has been part of the Academy team for 18 months working predominantly across Southern Devon. She has a background in both children’s and adults Social Work in the statutory sector in Torbay and Bristol. Herbi has worked in Children and Families services, hospital based Social Work teams and most recently led a Social Work team providing Safeguarding and assessment for people who have learning disabilities and Autism. She has maintained a practice educator role whilst working as both Social Work practitioner and manager as she recognises the importance of investing in the future of the profession. Herbi enjoys supporting students, and post qualifying learners; she benefits from observing practitioners develop their skills, their knowledge and resilience and helps them to focus and observe this professional growth. As a practitioner and educator Herbi is particularly interested in Parenting ability, Mental Capacity issues, personality disorder and critical reflection on the impact of our practice.