'My fieldwork placements are currently giving me a great platform to apply and refine my skills...'
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture
Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours in Sculpture
Studying towards a Master of Social Work (Applied)
Tom had initially studied Sculpture at UC for several years, with academic and studio work that earned him a Grant Lingard Scholarship supporting his studies, and a Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery Scholarship that recognises students in Fine Arts.
Now pursuing studies in Social Work, Tom has found that his Fine Arts experience has strongly influenced his approach within his new field of interest.
‘I feel that my background in Fine Arts, while perhaps an unorthodox pathway into Social Work training, is one that has given me a great appreciation for the creativity of the human spirit, and the ability for people to creatively and adaptively approach their life challenges,’ he says.
‘Creativity is fundamentally optimistic and exploratory, and can provide new ways of viewing old problems. Within Social Work, I see that there is significant opportunity to practice creatively alongside those I will support, and encourage it within themselves.’
As part of his master’s, Tom is currently doing a practical work placement within a GP practice, focusing on mental health and substance rehabilitation, as well as post-prison reintegration support, and the challenges that face these clients.
‘Many people within these groups experience significant barriers to accessing primary healthcare, and are also often at greater risk of poor general health outcomes,’ Tom says. ‘Alongside this, many people within these groups experience complex social issues that further exacerbate their physical and overall wellbeing.
‘As primary health settings increasingly become important ‘gateways’ to health and wellbeing support beyond the scope of General Practitioners, social work has the capacity to become a significant part of connecting people with the necessary support, by building rich understandings of complex client needs through the strongly relational approach of social work.’
The experience working directly with clients and practicing social workers has been invaluable for Tom, who especially enjoys the opportunity learning and understanding what effects the wellbeing of communities.
‘My fieldwork educators have been extremely helpful, and my fieldwork placements are currently giving me a great platform to apply and refine my skills. The opportunity to explore both the strengthening and challenging influences people experience in their daily lives, from the deeply personal to the globally political is endlessly interesting.’
As such, Tom greatly anticipates a future career where he can contribute to others’ lives professionally by creating positive outcomes, and hopes to ‘never be bored at work’ with continuous opportunities to give support.
‘I feel that the learning I have gained throughout this training is further reaching than simply vocational, equipping me with skills and knowledge that give me greater insight into my own life experiences while also allowing me to better contribute within my own community.’