Gillian McAuley

Practice Development Programme Manager, Extern

Gillian McAuley has been a social worker for over 11 years and has worked in Extern throughout this time. Gillian began her career working in criminal justice within the organisation before becoming a practice teacher and moving to the practice development team, which she now manages.


The opportunity to be involved in and co-edit the VBook has been exciting and reaffirmed Gillian’s belief in the importance of partnership working and relationship based practice that is at the heart of social work in the sector. The hard work and commitment of all of those involved demonstrates what can be achieved by working together and showcases the creative and innovative methods employed in working with service users.


Kate Harrison

Project Manager, Extern

Kate Harrison is a Social Worker and Practice Teacher and is currently Project Manager for a number of teams in Extern Homelessness services. The role of Social Work education is also an area of interest for Kate and this led to her involvement in the VBook.


The opportunity to co-edit the project has been an excellent experience due to both the contributors’ professionalism and innovation, and to the support of the Lecturers/ Researchers from Ulster University and Queens’ University Belfast in the venture. The chapters available offer some insight into the role of the Social Worker in the Voluntary Sector as this is often an area of practice which is little known.

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Caoimhe Harkin-Mac Dermott

Practice Learning (Western Services) Centre manager

Since 2017, Caoimhe Harkin-Mac Dermott is employed as the Practice Learning (Western Services) Centre manager for Bryson Care.  She completed her social work degree at Ulster University in 2005.


 Caoimhe has extensive experience working across the Statutory sector and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland and across the UK.  Caoimhe is a qualified practice teacher, practice assessor and professional supervisor.  In 2014, Caoimhe completed her Specialist Award in Social Work.  


She is a peer reviewer for the VBook and a member of editorial board for the VBook. 

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Professor Gavin Davidson

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work 

My name is Gavin Davidson and I’m the Praxis Chair of Social Care at Queen’s. My research focuses on the development of effective mental health services. My involvement in the VBook was mainly to review drafts and provide suggestions to the authors. I think the VBook is a fantastic development and demonstrates the value of supporting practitioners to let others know about service developments.


I was really struck during the process at how impressive and important the service developments were but also that the authors tended to really under-estimate their ability to write about their work. It’s great to see the VBook being launched and it would be brilliant to see this initiative develop further.    


Siobhan Wylie

Social Worker

Siobhan Wylie BA, MSW has been a social worker for over 20 years and has worked with Bryson Care since 2000.  She has been engaged in practice education since 2003, and has run the practice learning centre in Bryson Care in Belfast since 2008. Bryson is one of the lead PLC’s within the Voluntary Sector, alongside Extern.  


Siobhan is also closely involved with the work of VOCALS the voluntary sector consortium that supports social work training within the sector itself, and through this she has become involved as a Peer Reviewer for the V book.  She has also been a contributor to a chapter in relation to endings within a social work context in “Doing Relationship Based Social Work” (2017), McColgan and McMullin.


Dr Claire Luscombe

Research Project Manager

Dr Claire Luscombe is a Research Project Manager within the Mission Service of The Salvation Army.  A worldwide Church and Charity, The Salvation Army demonstrates Christian principles by providing social care and practical support to society’s most marginalised. For nearly 20 years, Claire has worked with passion and commitment, striving to create enabling environments within Salvation Army services and their supporting functions.


As part of the V book process Claire has participated in steering group sessions. Her contribution to this and the writing workshops has involved review of materials, assisting in the initial peer review process, development of the implementation plan and the processes involved in the project.


Denise MacDermott

Course Director, Ulster University

Currently, Denise is the Course Director for the BSc (Hons) in social work at Ulster University which is a full time three year programme taught at the Magee campus. Denise is the Ulster University representative on the V Book Editorial Board and one of the peer reviewers for submissions.  She is a reviewer for Social Work Education International Journal. Denise is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a certified Nearpod Educator. She is an external examiner for social work at University of South Wales.


Research Interests


  • Service users, carers and survivors’ involvement within social work education.

  • Professional supervision in social work.

  • Flipped classroom pedagogies in social work.

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