Sometimes the first career path we choose isn’t the one we’re meant to be on and there is nothing wrong with that!
That’s the beauty of study – you can change your career and follow a new path you’re passionate about.
That’s how ACU alumni Youna Kim became a social worker and she has never looked back.
Youna is a business development manager at a specialist family violence service.She is in charge of EDVOS Education and Training which aims to broaden community understanding and consciousness of family violence.
Youna studied a Master of Social work at ACU, graduating in 2013 and working in the field ever since, gaining employment opportunities from her placements.
“Before commencing the Master in Social Work at ACU, I worked in corporate sector over 8 years in international trade, advertisement, marketing and Public Relations.”
“I did not enjoy my work because I did not feel my job made any positive social contribution or impact on people who needed it the most. I decided to change my career to a social worker to have a purposeful and passionate profession I cared about.”
Youna made this change by enrolling in the Master of Social Work at ACU and hasn’t looked back.
Studying social work at ACU:
“I was confident the course at ACU would enable me to display my personal drive and integrity in accordance with legislation, practice guidelines, workplace policies and procedures, and contemporary best practice standards.”
Youna says the lecturers provided a wealth of knowledge.
“The lecturers who were currently working in the sector provided in-depth and realistic insights into what was happening in the field and how policies, legislations and welfare systems were evolving at the time.”
She says the degree prepared her for the workforce and she learnt several skills that were directly relevant to employ-ability including effective time management, taking full responsibility to complete tasks on time along with the importance of flexibility.
“I learnt about developing my own expertise through consistent and continuous research to ensure my professional judgment and assessment are evidence-based.”
“The course taught me how to foster and support productive working relationships and how the respect of individual differences to conduct a more holistic assessment and intervention.”
She says the best aspect of the course were the placement opportunities which also opened up employment opportunities.
“I found employment through my placements. After completion of each placement, I was recruited as a full time worker,” Youna says.
“In my first placement, at a community based domestic violence service provider, I gained invaluable insight into individual and group work, particularly in relation to domestic violence.”
Youna says she was able to apply and improve her counselling, interpersonal and communication skills, and learned how important autonomy and initiative were in a small agency setting.
“During my second placement at a statutory child safety service, I learned how to work within the statutory system; strictly applying relevant legislation, policies and quality standards in accordance with the proposed practice manual.”
The right career:
Youna says social workers are committed to supporting people who may have multiple issues and face obstacles.
“Being a social worker, I am grateful for the growth, the opportunities and possibilities of change that can be made through advocacy in social justice.
“I am fortunate to know so many people are dedicated to work for rightful purpose and thankful for the inspiration I receive from my peers and the wide range of practices and I am involved in.”
Advice to students considering a Master of Social Work:
“I found the coursework balanced the theoretical underpinnings, ethical and practical components of social work well,” Youna says.
“The first year of the course focused on learning about policies, legislations, current and past welfare programs and theories underpinning the interventions.
“In the second year, you learn in-depth yet practical social work practice in a diverse range of contexts which will allow to focus on the fields/sectors you are most interested in and passionate about,” she says.
“ACU offers well-developed field education program, including several student units in key agencies in the health, ageing, child and family, drug and alcohol and women’s services, which will give you a broad placements to practice your skills and connect to employment opportunities.”