My name is Jacquelyn, I was lucky enough to have my first placement at The Link in Middlesbrough at the beginning of 2021. In all honesty, I did not have a clue what I would be walking into as things were pretty much up in the air due to Covid-19. As well as this, although I have children of my own, I had never worked with young people before. I had always been focused on the fact that I wanted to work with vulnerable adults in our local area, but open-minded. On my first day at The Link, I was amazed by the positive atmosphere; everyone was just so helpful and supportive. My practice educator had supported me throughout my placement and had such a catalogue of experience and knowledge that I was able to utilise, not only for my placement but for other aspects of social work that interests me. I had spent the first few weeks getting to know the team and was blown away by the skill set. No matter what I was doing, I could always turn to someone for advice and there was no such thing as a stupid question. I have spent many hours in lectures and seminars learning about evidence and research-based practice, I was now seeing this being put into action, and it was amazing.
Throughout my time on placement, I had many different supervision sessions. I was given the names of some books to read as well as some research. This was the turning point for me with regards to therapeutic social work. I thought about children, families and adults in my local area who may not be accessing the support they may need. I felt like more people needed to know about The Link and the services they provide. My whole view and expectations as to what I thought I wanted to do changed. In fact, it changed my life so much that I quit my job! I found work in the homeless sector, took a voluntary job at a food bank, and registered to run as a local counsellor at the 2023 elections with The Labour Party, with the aim to highlight the need for services such as The Link.
I can never thank the team at The Link enough, their professionalism and passion for the work they do has inspired me and supported my professional development in ways I had never expected when I walked through those doors. In the future, I am hoping to complete a master’s degree in Social Work and become a trauma Social Worker. Before this, I aim to gather more experience, skills and knowledge surrounding the role of a therapeutic Social Worker. I am now in my final year as a student social worker and awaiting my final placement. I have to say, if it is anything like my time at The Link, then bring it on!
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