“Michelle, you are a Social Worker, but what exactly does a Social Worker do”? It’s a question I have been asked many times.
My personal answer is: I completed my Bachelor of Social Work degree at Edith Cowan University in 2005. Which was a 4 year full time degree. In my Social Work degree I engaged in research, study, assignments, exams and field placements. During my field placements (3 and 4 months) I was supervised by Social Work professionals whilst developing my skills in the workplace, to ensure a very high standard of practice development.
My Social Work degree was inclusive of a wide variety of education. Units that I completed included study in psychology, social research, social inclusion, philosophy, rural, regional and remote development, addictions, cultural diversity, politics and policy, human rights and social justice, mental health, activism and social change, and the list goes on.
Did it challenge me? Yes! Did I love it? Absolutely.
The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) website explains an answer with the following information about Social Work:
“Social work is a university-qualified profession dedicated to assisting people to improve their lives, with a focus on their personal and social wellbeing. Social workers take the time needed to build relationships with people so that together they can consider all aspects of their situation, including their strengths and capacities, as well as the areas where they need help. They offer solutions, supports and pathways that make sense in the context of the person’s environment, preferences and abilities. As qualified professionals, social workers have the skills and knowledge to support individuals, families, groups and communities. You’ll find social workers in a wide range of organisations and settings including federal and state governments, hospitals, schools, community services organisations, and private practice”.
AASW Social Workers abide by our Code of Ethics and have very high practice standards. I certainly am proud to be a AASW Social Worker.
My Social Work degree has taken me on an incredible career and travel journey. I have worked in London for four years, worked in the Wheatbelt, in Perth and in the South West of Australia. The roles I have worked in include Employment Assistance Program Counsellor, Addictions Counsellor, Probation Officer, Youth Offending Social Worker, Substance Misuse Worker, Senior Child Protection Worker, and finally in my role now, Grief and Bereavement Counsellor and Social Worker.
Founding Grief Connect bereavement support services has been the highlight in my Social Work journey for me. After becoming a widow in 2018 I combined my academic, professional and lived experience to develop and launch grief and bereavement support services to our Nation.