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This is a guest blog by Jade Painter, our current BSc (Hons) Social Work student.

My name is Jade Painter and I am currently studying BA (Hons) Social work at Bournemouth University. I am in my second year and I have just completed my first 70-day substantive placement. My placement was in supported accommodation for individuals who are experiencing homelessness, substance misuse and mental health. Before I started, we were given a form to choose areas of interest. For myself, I chose substance misuse and homelessness so when I was allocated my placement I was over the moon. I found it really easy to get back and forth to placement as I drove my own car and it was in Lansdowne so the locality was brilliant. The support from my placement supervisor was absolutely amazing and she was always there to answer any questions I had.

I have learnt through working with individuals who have experienced homelessness, addictions and mental health that not one day is the same. It is a very challenging environment and anything can change from day to day. Many individuals I have come across have distrust with professionals as they have been let down in their past, therefore I have learnt how important it is as a support worker to build up rapport between myself and residents to ensure stability and trust. I was able to deepen my understanding and knowledge in specific area’s around homelessness, addictions, alcohol dependency and supported housing.

I was able to create many opportunities for myself to learn from service users and felt I developed various skills further through experience. My communication skills and active listening have been developed throughout, each session and interaction I have with a service user I feel they have grown and I have been able to implement them with confidence. I have developed as an anti-oppressive practitioner and feel I am always adding to my continuing personal and professional development.

Overall, my journey through my placement has been amazing. I have really enjoyed it, so much so I was offered a job on the relief bank which I cannot wait to start.  Undertaking a placement through your chosen University course is such an amazing opportunity and it is really important to experience different areas to be able to apply the knowledge you have learnt in a professional environment. I cannot wait to take the skills and experiences I have learnt from and use them throughout my future social work practice.

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