'I’ve developed good self-discipline principles and research methods.'
Care and Protection Social Worker, Child, Youth and Family, Christchurch
Martin’s introduction to Social Work is a rather unique one. After spending two years working in Africa as a development aid worker, Martin became inspired to help his own community, aiming specifically at men in need of social support. ‘I have an ability to relate to other men, and wanted to further develop and formalise the interpersonal skills I picked up through a career in management and my time in Africa,’ he says.
Following his degree in Social Work at UC, Martin worked as the Coordinator for the Canterbury Men’s Centre, a community-based agency that offers social and counselling support and centres, known as ‘Men’s Sheds’, to local men. Unfortunately a lack of funding resulted in the disestablishment of his role at the Men’s Centre, and he is now working at Child, Youth and Family (CYF) as a Care and Protection Social Worker.
‘It is a demanding role, but there is fantastic support and training, and I am enjoying guiding young people through challenging times and supporting them and their caregivers to ensure that they are prepared for life as adults.’
Working at CYF, Martin has been reunited with some of his fellow social work students, ‘It keeps the family feel alive!’ he says.
He says that another advantage of working in a large organisation is that there are plenty of opportunities for career advancement.
‘I’m gaining valuable experience of the care and protection of children and young people in a statutory environment, while I work towards a management role at the agency.’
Martin is extremely pleased with his time at UC. After tossing between UC and CPIT, he ended up choosing UC because of its impressive Social Work department. He was motivated by the amount of student input in lectures and discussions, and later became a part of the Social Work Board of Studies. Indeed, he intends to return to UC in the future to continue his study of Social Work.
‘I’ve developed good self-discipline principles and research methods. As an adult student I enjoyed watching my young colleagues develop and also the mentoring I was able to give some of the younger students.’
Martin highly endorses studying Social Work, and is especially grateful to UC for providing him with the opportunity.
‘Without exception, the people in the School of Social Work are warm, supportive and understanding when students are faced with challenges. I feel very fortunate to have been part of the UC Social Work family. Thank you, UC, for one of the most enriching experiences of my life.’