Student Spotlight: Laura, Social Work Student

As Social Work student Laura’s time with Savera UK comes to an end, we find out a little more about her time working with the charity.

Laura is a mum of two, who decided to return to study after having her children. She decided to study social work because she wanted to have a career that would help people make differences to their lives, as she gets great satisfaction from helping people.

Thank you for all your hard work Laura, we’ve loved having you with us and we wish you all the best for your future career.

How did you feel when Savera UK was offered to you as a placement?

“When I was offered Savera I was really excited as I felt I had been given a real opportunity to experience working in an area I have never worked around before. Also, I felt Savera UK would give me many opportunities to be able to meet my professional capabilities framework (PCFs).

What has your day-to-day role been at Savera UK?

At Savera UK I have been working as a community support worker, assessing risks of the client, putting safety measures in place, signposting and making referrals for clients, as well as emotionally supporting clients through welfare calls.

What did you expect from your placement before you started?

I was looking forward to gaining experience working around an area that I had never worked in before. I also hoped I could bring fresh eyes in and bring new ideas.  In terms of what I wanted to learn, I wanted to understand the service and how it impacts people’s lives I was also interested to see how professionals engage within multi-agency settings, as this will be experience for when I qualify.

What surprised you about the role?

At first, I was quite overwhelmed by the work conducted by Savera UK in that I found I could potentially be dealing with life and death situations. However, once I was confident enough I felt satisfied that I could help people in these types of situations.

What did you enjoy most about the role?

Although many of the woman at Savera UK have been through some of the most horrific experiences, I feel that once they reach out to services such as Savera UK it gives you the opportunity to help them build their new beginning. I really loved watching the outcome of cases where women would then feel safe and happy to start their new chapter in life.

Did the placement meet the expectations you held prior to starting it?

The placement exceeded my expectations. I was fascinated about how much help one service can provide to the women. Whatever the issue Savera UK will always go that extra mile to help their clients.

What has been your biggest learning?

I feel I have learned a lot about the Asylum Process whilst at Savera UK, as I feel I previously had no knowledge around this area. I also learned how hard this can be for clients who in most cases have already faced a lot by having to come to a different country.

What was the most challenging thing about your placement?

“I feel that in many cases with Savera UK, although clients have been referred or have even referred themselves, it is sometimes hard for them to identify that they are at real risk. I have found this quite challenging in that we can only support them if they want to be supported and in many cases they feel they don’t need this. Additionally, I have found it challenging when professionals explain they don’t see cases as ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) when there are clear indications that they do represent HBA and potentially put the client at real risk.”

Based on your experience working at Savera UK what do you think are the biggest challenges facing organisations supporting survivors and those at risk of harmful practices?

“I feel I have found that it is difficult for other professionals to identify HBA the way Savera UK does. Organisations such as Police and sometimes Social Workers are the professionals who can take most actions when a client is at risk of HBA. However, at some points at my time at Savera UK I feel it had been misjudged that a case is not HBA which then leaves the client at serious risk.”

What do you feel needs to be done to tackle that?

“I feel that it would be beneficial for other organisations to have a more accurate knowledge of HBA in order to protect clients from risks and prevent them from harm.”

What was the happiest moment of your placement?

“I feel the happiest moment at my placement was a day trip on the ferry with a group of our clients. I really loved watching the women, as many of the clients had never experienced this before and I felt they all really enjoyed this.”

What are your future plans?

“My future plans are to go back to University to complete my final year, which will include a 100-day placement in a statutory setting. Once I have finished that I will then qualify as a Social Worker and would like to go into working with adults with Mental Health concerns.”

How will you use your practical experience with Savera UK going forward?

“I feel I have learned a huge amount from working at Savera UK, in that I had no knowledge around the area of Harmful Practices when I first started and I feel it is really important to have this knowledge going forward into a social work career. I also feel I will be able to educate my fellow social work students on how to identify if a case involves HBA.”

Anything else you want to share about your placement?

“I would just like to say how much I have enjoyed working with the team at Savera UK. Everyone has been so welcoming and kind. Also, I would like to add how much I have enjoyed working with clients and having the satisfaction knowing you may have helped their situation. I feel Savera UK has given me a unique opportunity to work in a setting completely new to me and educated me on really important issues that I feel many should already be aware of.

Thank you for all your hard work Laura, we’ve loved having you with us, valued your input and we wish you all the best for your future career!