From Psychology Work Experience to Working Psychologist
After graduating in Psychology, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in terms of my career but I did know I wanted to travel and that I wanted to utilise my degree to work with children in the future. I was initially introduced to ‘SLV.GLOBAL’ in my first year at the University of Nottingham when I attended one of their information talks for psychology students. I was really keen to get involved but didn’t feel brave enough to go on my own and therefore never ended up committing. Over the summer, I plucked up the courage and signed myself up to the SLV.GLOBAL Graduate Mental Health Placement for the upcoming October as I realised it would allow me to travel, gain experience with children and give me time to think about my career path whilst doing something valuable!
I finally volunteered in Sri Lanka from October to December and I am so glad I got to experience first-hand all of the amazing things discussed in that first year talk. However it is now, 7 months after I returned from my Sri Lankan family and home in Kotte, that I have decided to write this blog. I always knew SLV.GLOBAL would add value to my CV – but only now do I realise how valuable the whole experience was.
My enthusiasm and enjoyment at projects made me realise I want to use my skills, knowledge and experience to help children in their personal and educational development. I have now decided I want to pursue a career as an Educational Psychologist, where the Doctorate requires a minimum of 1 year working with children. Thanks to SLV.GLOBAL, I already have 3 months voluntary work under my belt and how varied that experience was; different age groups, cultures, clinical, educational and community settings, special needs, mental health, English as a foreign language, therapeutic activities, child protection and safeguarding training, children in care/detention centres, facing stigma and discrimination, disadvantaged backgrounds and lack of resources (the list goes on and on...)
And what about those oh so common interview questions?
• Team work
• Managing a team
• Managing a difficult situation/conversation
• Thriving under pressure
• Project management
• Planning and resourcing
• Working outside comfort zone
• Taking the initiative
As a result of my SLV.GLOBAL experience, my applications for jobs have been significantly enhanced. I have been invited to three interviews – one at a school for children with autism and two for Assistant Educational Psychologist positions. I received positive feedback, with all three commenting on how my enthusiasm for SLV.GLOBAL shone through. After being offered all three roles, I have accepted a job as an Assistant Educational Psychologist and hope to apply to the Educational Psychology Doctorate in December to start the following September (if unsuccessful I will apply again the following year!)
For people interested in my chosen career other roles I have on my CV include: Adolescent Mental Healthcare Assistant (eating disorders), Primary School Teaching Assistant, Inspire Mentor for inner-city schools and various roles of responsibility at University e.g. Welfare Representative and Student Ambassador.
Although in this blog I mainly focus on how SLV.GLOBAL has enhanced my career prospects, as this reflects my current situation, I can’t go without mentioning all the other stuff too! As well as being my escape from post University blues and moving back home, I got to live with a lovely family in a beautiful home and was exposed to new culture, food and values – many of which I have brought home with me. I visited the most beautiful beaches and jungles and climbed never-ending mountains. I have made friends who I have since visited in Australia (and am hosting in the UK soon), met up with in New Zealand and hope to manage a visit to the LA in the future too! My time away not only improved my awareness of the world but also of my own strengths and weaknesses and this self-reflection definitely boosted my confidence in my own abilities which has been evident since.
I owe a lot to SLV.GLOBAL and can’t thank them enough for providing such a well-organised, fun and hugely beneficial placement. They have always been extremely prompt and helpful providing references and I have recommended the placements to many people since – in fact my best friend’s sister is there right now and another friend is flying out in autumn!
I strongly suggest if you’re contemplating signing up, even the tiniest bit, to go for it! Just fill in the form below, drop them an email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or even give them a call. They’re super friendly and the whole experience will help you for years to come.