There’s no better way to prepare yourself for a career in social work than with practical industry experience. At Flinders, students complete 1000 hours of placement when completing either their Bachelor or Master of Social Work degrees. This means our students complete more than 133 days of placement before entering the workforce, giving them the confidence to succeed. Students are given the opportunity to implement knowledge and skills acquired in their degrees and begin to create professional connections in the industry. With plenty of support from Flinders before, during and after placement, students are given the tools to kick start their careers before they finish their degree.
Eric Amini has been given an opportunity at Eldercare, a residential aged care organisation for his first placement as part of studying a Bachelor of Social Work. He’s currently working within their Lifestyle team, helping with organisation, planning activities with residents, providing one on one support and assessments, and working on projects which can provide support or information to improve wellbeing.
Throughout his placement, Eric’s highlight has been his personal and professional development journey.
‘I’m enjoying these new experiences and putting myself outside my usual comfort zone”, says Eric. “It can be challenging, but I can feel myself growing and skills expanding. I also really value the many connections I’ve made, and I have created some great friendships.”
Eric felt well prepared for his Social Work placement and continues to feel supported thanks to the resources and support networks at Flinders.
“Flinders provided me with a variety of resources to help during placement”, says Eric. “Initially, Flinders provided a list of specific documents I would require, some tips and tricks for the interview process, and information regarding my field of placement, providing some background to ensure wasn’t going in blind. As for the support whilst on placement, my external field educator has been a massive help, providing guidance and helping me set an agenda to cover a whole range of things whilst on placement.”
The placement has given Eric insights into how the knowledge and skills learned throughout his degree can be implemented in line with different organisations’ specific values and codes of conduct.
“Working within an organisation provides a good learning experiencing, having to navigate situations under organisational rules, and considering ethical dilemmas from both the code of ethics and the organisation’s values”, says Eric. “I’ve also learned more skills regarding working in a group, particularly when it comes to communication. Working and communicating with people within the wellbeing team, with residents, across other sites and with other students provides a setting to really test and improve these skills.
Eric has two main pieces of advice for students who will be doing a Social Work placement. They are to stay organised and utilise the support provided by Flinders.
“I think most people (including me) undergoing their first placement underestimate just how much time and effort goes into it”, says Eric”. “I want to emphasise, that this placement goes for a long period of time and there’s going to be a lot going on, so it’s crucial to manage your time wisely. Use a calendar and a diary, and I really stress setting time aside for self-care. You want to make sure you enjoy this experience rather than stress through it. Also, make sure you use the resources Flinders provide, from your supervisors to other services. They’re there for you to use so don’t hesitate.”
Want to learn more about studying Social Work at Flinders? Click here to learn about our Social Work degrees.