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Ciara's experience of a social work student placement

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My name is Ciara and I’m a Social Work student from Queens University Belfast.  I’ve just completed my first placement with Start360’s DAISY East, which lasted for 85 days from January until May 2017. 

The placement offered me the opportunity to support DAISY service users by providing them with person-centred interventions. Furthermore my practice teacher met with me on a weekly basis to guide me to offer an informed and evidenced based practice. Through her guidance and that of rest of the team, I learnt a variety of theories and methods that offered our service users assistance to achieve their goals and lessen their substance use.  Some of these interventions included motivational interviewing, seeking safety, and WRAP. 

One of the most important elements that I learnt from my time with DAISY and Start360 is the importance of working from a strength-based approach.

I would recommend Start360 for any future social work or youth work student.  Start360 is an incredibly inviting and supportive organisation that values the need to educate future professionals in how to best support the adolescent and young adult population who experience substance use concerns.

Fiona Anderson, DAISY Practitioner and Ciara's practice teacher, said,

Start360 offers social work students completing a full time or part time social work degree opportunities to complete a placement opportunity at levels two and three. Often students have an opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, values and anti-oppressive practice through the DAISY service, supporting young people with substance use. This person-centred, strengths-led service gives each student an opportunity to support young people and their families through change, focusing on harm reduction, mental health and recovery models.  Development of student therapeutic communication skills is key to the role and student and tutor feedback indicates that a placement at Start360 is a unique platform from which to launch their social work careers.


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