Student Unit: Axel's Experience
When it came to deciding where to complete industry experience for the Bachelor of Youth Work, Swedish student Axel decided to make the trip down to Melbourne and learn from the team at Westcare.
The Umea University student recently completed an intenstive 17- week placement with us, moving between departments to experience the breadth and depth of our organisation. You can learn more about the student unit here.
Axel shares his experience with us below.
The Student Unit Experience: Q & A with Axel
Can you describe a typical day for you at Westcare?
It’s quite difficult for me to describe a typical day at Westcare. I’ve been spending time at different programmes at Westcare and every programme is different.
I usually try to start the morning with reflecting on what I’ve done the day before and ask questions to the staff. Everyeone is usually very good at listening to my questions. After that I usually help out with paperwork. I also try to spend some time reading about legislation that is important for the work that Westcare do, I learn a lot from comparing it to Swedish legislation.
I usually try to go to meetings regarding clients and I try to see clients together with staff as much as possible. My main task is to observe the staff when they meet the clients and be an extra support when it’s needed. That’s basically the things I do on a typical day at Westcare, but every day is different.
What have you learned so far in your placement at Westcare?
I’ve learned a lot of things during my time at Westcare, too many things to explain in just a few sentences. I’ve learned how to write case notes and I’ve been able to observe many different ways of engaging with young people. I’ve been reading a lot about legislation and about Westcare as an organization and how it collaborates with other organizations. One good thing about reading about legislation in Australia is that I’m able to compare it to similar Swedish legislation and in that way I’m able to learn a lot about this kind of work in both countries. I’ve also learned a lot about how experiences in childhood and adolescence can affect a person later on.
What roles have you taken on during your time here with us?
I’ve been spending time in five different programmes at Westcare for a total of 17 weeks. The programmes that I’ve been able to try is Transitional Services, Adolescent homebased care, Melton Foster care, Residental Services and I&CMS.
I’ve been able to get experience in case managament at different programmes in the organization and I’ve also been able to get experience in youth work at two residential units . I would say that my placement has been an excellent combination of work where I’ve been able to engage with the clients and work that is more focused on administrative tasks.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
I would say that the greatest lesson that I’ve learned is that the most important thing when it comes to this kind of work is that you are passionate about people and helping people. It might sound like a basic thing and i would say that it is, but it’s very important to never forget why you’re doing the work you do. Westcare is an organization where every staffmemeber really care about their clients and their co-workers. I believe that It’s very important to work in an environment where you can trust everyone and that you support each other when difficulties occur. I will definitely try to take a part of Westcare’s organizational culture with me when i go back to Sweden, I believe that this will benefit me a lot.
"The kind of work that the staff at westcare do is not easy job I must say that everyone I’ve met at Westcare can be really proud of the work that they do and I’m very proud to have been a part of this organization for this short period of time."