Over the last year we have had 8 social work students complete a placement at Z2K, most of whom are studying at the same university I completed my social work degree at. I also completed a placement at Z2K whilst studying, which has meant that I have been able to use this experience and knowledge of the degree and placement process to support and guide them through their time at Z2K. It has been extremely rewarding to contribute to their journey and watch them grow in knowledge and confidence.
Each of the students have had their own successes on behalf of clients, but I would like to concentrate on just one example. Emma completed her placement with us from January to July. During this period she took on a number of cases dealing with a variety of issues. There is one case that sticks out in my mind, purely because I was amazed at the time, effort and hard work Emma put into it, and the huge impact she had on the clients’ life.
Zara suffered from severe anxiety and depression to the point that she was unable to leave her home. When her benefits stopped suddenly she emailed us for assistance and Emma jumped at the chance to help. Zara was of course unable to come to the office, and all contact had to be over the phone and email, but this didn’t stop Emma.
Zara’s condition made it difficult for her to engage with services, but Emma developed such a good rapport with the client that she was able to encourage her to provide all the information she needed and managed to get her benefits reinstated. She was also able to speak to the client and get her to think about seeking assistance from other organisations for help with her anxiety and depression. Emma also represented three of our clients at welfare benefit tribunals, and was successful at them all.
Without the students and our volunteers it would be impossible for us to help so many clients, we rely on them to take on and manage cases. Using students and volunteer’s means we can extend our reach and provide help to far more households than we could do with our limited employed resources. It is extremely important to us that each and every one get the same experience as Emma, and leave Z2K both feeling more confident and knowledgeable, but also feeling happy that they have contributed to significantly improving the lives of their clients.