a young female social worker standing with hands crossed and smiling

Lakshmi Nair scores an exciting role post-placement

Lakshmi initially came to Australia to pursue a Master of Public Health. Following her studies, she transitioned into a role as a health and safety officer in a warehouse, where she connected with other international students sharing similar interests. This experience motivated her to pursue a Master of Social Work (Qualifying) with a focus on supporting individuals in crisis situations. Lakshmi started her journey at Excelsia College, then later became pregnant during her studies.

Reflecting on her time at Excelsia, Lakshmi describes it as exceptional. She highlights the small cohort size of ten people, which created a personalised learning environment where her voice was always heard. She appreciated the clear, detailed course units and reinforcing assignments. Despite her pregnancy and postpartum period, she chose not to take a break, feeling well-supported by the program. ‘Five weeks after giving birth, I remember receiving intensive support from my supervisor and field liaison officer,’ she recalls.

Lakshmi gained valuable experience and enjoyed her placements. Her direct placement at a public school provided insights into the education system, government support mechanisms, and student wellbeing processes, enhancing her assessment, communication, documentation, and presentation skills. Her indirect placement at Excelsia involved foundational research for a student support project, boosting her accountability, professional integrity, research, and documentation skills while strengthening her confidence as a social work professional. ‘Placements were crucial in applying social work knowledge, skills, and theories into practice, helping me shape my professional interests and identity,’ Lakshmi expresses.

Towards the end of her placement, Lakshmi was offered a position, despite being a student and seven months pregnant at the time. She worked there for two months before taking maternity leave. Upon completing her studies, Lakshmi applied for various positions. Her positive relationships with placement supervisors allowed them to provide references for her current graduate role. She remains dedicated to progressing towards a specialist role and plans to explore different areas of social work, with aspirations to enter academia in the future.