As part of this month’s look into Circle’s inspirational, but sometimes over-looked, work with Social Work students we were lucky enough to meet the staff, as well as some current students on placement, that make this project so successful. Read on for the first of two interviews with Circle staff members who were previously Social Work students on placement at, and were subsequently employed by, Circle: 

Hi Tee, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Tee, I am a Family Outreach Worker at Circle AND I’m currently studying Social Work at the Masters level in Edinburgh Napier University. I am in my final year.

Before we start the serious questions I wonder if you could answer a little ice-breaker for us, if you could be any animal, what would you be, and why?

An elephant, just because they are big, strong and reliable.

Elephants are my favorite too! And what are you particularly passionate about?

Helping people achieve their potential. I believe we all have potential and some of us just need a nudge to unlock that potential.

Now that our supporters know you a little better I wonder if you could tell us what inspired you to study for a qualification in Social Work?

I had a personal encounter with a Social Worker and his support put me in a better place. I therefore want to be there for anyone who needs support as well.

How long were you, or have you been, on placement at Circle?

I was on placement at Circle for four months. When that finished I applied for a job that was available. 

What was the biggest difference between studying and practicing Social Work and did you learn or experience anything at Circle that you weren’t expecting?

Academic work is absolutely different from practice work. I remember thinking: 

“the university has not prepared me for what to say on my first visit to a client”

I have learnt that a good team is essential when practicing Social Work as one need to seek advice and at times seek information for referrals in this field.

For anyone reading this who is considering studying for a qualification in Social Work what would your top three tips be?

1. Make sure you have a passion for helping others.

2. Make room for self-care.

3. Be ready to continue to update your knowledge through reading researches and attending seminars, etc.

Was it a challenge to make the transition from being a student to a professional and what has helped you most during that change?

The use of supervision has really helped because knowing that there is always someone to guide me through my cases help build my confidence.

And finally, with the experience you have so far, what one change would you make to the world around us that would make the biggest positive difference to the families you support, and why? 

Poverty eradication. This is because poverty is a major element in the lives of the families I support. Accessibility to needs would go a long way in helping the mental health of the people I support.