Letoria – Student Social Worker

How did you hear about St Michael’s Fellowship?
I was actually a sessional worker at the family assessment centres prior to becoming a student social worker and have been involved with the company for about a year. I initially heard about St Michael’s through an old colleague of mine and thought I’d check out the vacancies and wasn’t disappointed as it was already within my field of work. When we were appointed for placements at uni I asked the placement tutors If I could complete my placement at St Michael’s and they realised that I could meet my learning outcomes in a place that’s familiar so I was given the go ahead.
What course do you study at Uni?
MA Social Work.
How long was/is your placement?
I am in my initial 70 day placement which amounted to 6-7 physical months in total.
What roles were you assigned?
I was a student social worker at the Crawford House site. I worked closely with families through their assessment period through direct work, interventions, daily observations and tailored sessions.
How do you find the work environment here?
Good I think there’s a strong team with lots of strong, hardworking characters who want the best for the families while they complete the assessment. No day is the same you could be completing sessions with families, attending a multi agency review meeting or escorting a family into the community.
What has been the highlight of your placement? What was the most challenging but rewarding part?
I really loved doing work with the outreach team for parts of my placement. This involved home visits with the securing change practitioner, and observing Outreach groups like Caring Dads, Friday Group and Cook Up with the rest of the outreach team. It’s a different side to St Michael’s so it was good seeing the company and its other facets.
I think when parents are under assessment and you’re engaging in direct work with families they can often become emotional or tearful as their having to discuss really traumatic parts of their past. One of the first cases I worked with as a student social worker was quite difficult as there was a lot to unpack with mum but the parent in question was so open with professionals and really wanted to put in the work. It is rewarding seeing the parents take accountability, do the work that is needed and see them complete a positive assessment to go home with their child(ren).
You have attended various sessions at St Michael’s. How was that like? What do you feel you learnt more about working with parents, families (anything relevant to your degree)?
Yes direct work for sure. We speak about direct work as an intervention tool constantly as one of the social work professional capabilities framework. I was able to see how sessions tailored to the families specific needs help support and guide families through their assessment period. So they can be aided with tools to complete and finish their assessment well. It has been very insightful seeing the families post assessment period when shadowing home visits with the securing change practitioner. I have seen various families I worked with through their assessment period go back into the community and start their life once the assessment has ended. This part probably feels the most rewarding as you can see the families use the skills and tools they have learnt in the community.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to do placement at St Michael’s Fellowship?
Go for it. You will learn a lot very quickly as no day is the same. Also remember to be kind to yourself you are a student, there’s a lot on your plate and you are going to make mistakes. Be sure to use supervision and your team wisely to discuss areas where you want feedback as well as areas you’d like to improve and grow and things you’d like to do as a student to aid your learning.
We have been offering placements for social worker students for over 10 years, if you would like to get in touch about partnering with us for future placements send an email to admin@stmichaelsfellowship.org.uk