1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role was the keep the files up to date, to arrange meetings with women who needed help, to help make case files, to type up notes, to make tea and coffee, to take minutes in meetings and eventually do the interviews myself.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt to stay calm and compassionate when people are telling you something very upsetting. To get the most you can out of a meeting, you need them to know they are in a safe place and that they are in the hands of people who have control (self-control can be hard when you hear some of the stories that make you want to cry).
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoyed it for the sense of accomplishment but it was emotionally draining.
4. How valued do you feel by Personal Support Unit?
I felt valued but also that there were so little people working that there was no real time to be fully appreciated.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Not very. Again, there were very few people trying to do ALOT of work, it felt very unorganised, but then again such centres are - they are often having to try and find funding as much as they are trying to do their actual jobs.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Again, not much support, but that is only me being honest not negative. The people chosen for this apprenticeship were people who were good are not needing support from those above them but could instead get stuck in themselves.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Like question 6a, however I will add on one thing. The people who were dealing with these situations every day had become numb to it. They were not horrified in the same way because it was their daily life to be exposed to such things. However, I feel like there should be some compassion for people who have never seen such horrific things before. It felt like at times there was a "get over it" attitude - this was more in a "we have work to do" attitude, which is understandable. But some of the things I saw, read and heard, I have not got over 3 years later - I don't think it is okay to get university students, put them in the deep end and then send them on their way.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
It was a volunteer position because it was a non-profit organisation. However, travel was reimbursed.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
no there was absolutely nothing.
9. Would you recommend Personal Support Unit to a friend?
It was emotionally draining. I don't think there are many people who can turn off or compartmentalise in the way required in this line of work. Therefore I would not recommend it to anyone - it needs to be something they would really, really want to do.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Personal Support Unit?
The interview stage asks you a lot of questions about why you would be good for the job. These are very specific - they focus more on what hardships you have faced in life because they want to get the right type of person.
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