Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)
I did Honours in Psychology with the view to becoming… a psychologist working with kids with disabilities. As my course progressed, my focus broadened. I applied for the Graduate Program seeking a break from studies and wanting to find out more about what I wanted to do.
I didn’t know about the department prior to applying for the Graduate Program. When I did start reading about the department, I knew that’s where I wanted to go as my values aligned with their values; particularly those around being person-centred, and building people’s capacity to help themselves.
The Graduate Program has been very supportive… You can tailor it to what you want to do. I was placed in the learning and development team of Housing SA. A great part of my placement was the opportunity to participate in NAHA (National Affordable Housing Agreement) training. The department funds a number of external agencies to provide training covering topics such as mental health, perpetrator behaviour, first aid, how to work with vulnerable people in the community and so on. Those training sessions provided me with valuable skills in motivational interviewing, how to relate to people and what to keep in mind when providing tenancy support. The training also gave me the chance to get to know some of the people who work in our regional offices.
I was offered the opportunity to work with the community… My managers have been very supportive to give me time every Wednesday to work at a flat block and organise community events and opportunities for the tenants to engage. At first I would go out with a Housing Officer, but now I can go out on my own as my skills and confidence have improved. The opportunity has helped me to understand that I really love working in the community, hearing people’s stories, talking to them, and trying to help them. You get to see the benefits directly. I recommend anyone who gets into the Graduate Program to make the most of their opportunities. You’re given a lot. People are very willing to chat and to share their knowledge.
Aligning with the values…My advice for those thinking of applying to Housing SA is to read about the organisation. When answering questions, make sure you demonstrate how you align with the values and why you want to work here. And highlight the transferable skills you have that are relevant to the role including the way you approach work, the way you prioritise, your writing skills, and analytical and problem-solving abilities.