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Social work placements at Amber

In Devon Amber partners with Plymouth University offering their MA Social Work students an opportunity to compete a 70 day placement with us. Students work directly with our residents at our centre, Ashley Court, which houses up to 30 young people at a time. Our residents have previously grappled with homelessness and unemployment with many also having with issues with their mental health, addiction and/or offending.

“My priority was to gain direct intervention experience with young people so the placement at Amber is brilliant for me” said Leonora half way through her placement with us. “The role is very much driven by the individual student and has been determined by my learning needs.”

Before she started her MA Leonora worked in Children Services at the local authority “Amber is very well thought of among social care professionals so when I had an opportunity to complete my placement here I was very keen.”

Once Leonora has completed her MA she plans to return to her work in Children Services. “I will definitely be taking my experiences back there. My experience here will strengthen ties and future opportunities for young people who need a place to be and a helping hand.”

The benefits are not just one way. Our relationship with Plymouth University offers placement students an opportunity to gain invaluable experience working with our residents while offering Amber a host of benefits. Sarah Johnson, Operations Manager, at Amber explains “Our relationship with Plymouth University is brilliant. All our social work placements have brought added value to our service provision and it allows for mutual learning and experience within the sector.”

Leonora has done a lot of work individually with residents “I really take the time to listen engage with them – often without taking notes”. She has also advocated for residents in a variety of settings. “I’ve accompanied them to interviews for college courses, DWP assessments and tours of move on accommodation.” These sorts of experiences are often very challenging and emotionally charged for our residents and they can easily become overwhelmed so having an extra staff member to support them is enormously beneficial.

Leonora has a particular interest in people who are currently on probation. “Since being here I have set up a small group focusing on rehabilitation and future direction.”

Like Amber staff Leonora uses pro-social modelling with residents “it’s teaching them how to resolve problems and conflict by setting a good example.”

“My approach is known as narrative theory; I believe that everyone I work with as the capacity to change and they know how to but my role is to help them find that. I am not here to tell them what to do.”

Amber are looking for more universities and colleges to set up placement schemes for our centres located in Devon, Wiltshire and Surrey. For more information please contact Sarah Johnson on 01306 627925 or Sarah.Johnson@amberweb.org.