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Michelle Perkins

Student working and listen to music

It was a last minute decision to add a few social work papers to my first year and within a few minutes of my first Social Work and Community Development lecture, I knew I wanted to become a social worker.

I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate degree and particularly liked the way that the Otago Social Work and Community Development papers opened my eyes to different ways of viewing the world. I really enjoyed the contact with my lecturers, all of whom were so approachable and helpful in terms of learning and discussing career paths. After my undergraduate degree, I completed the Post Graduate Diploma in Social and Community Work, and loved every moment of it. The papers were both interesting and relevant to our future careers, and the work placements gave us our first opportunity to test ourselves as social workers.

After graduating I worked with a Southland Community Mental Health Team. This was the perfect first ‘real’ job for me - I loved being a social worker. I've now been working in a London Community Mental HealthTeam for the last two and a half years, which has been great. The workload is much higher than my previous job, the social issues are more complex, and the level of risk is much more significant, but I feel like the knowledge and skills the Social Work and Community Development Department gave me has held me in good stead.

I love the fact that my degree and diploma allow me to work in many countries. I will always be grateful for the knowledge, skills, confidence, and support I received during my time at Otago. I thoroughly recommend the programmes to anyone considering a career in social work/social services.