After completing her studies, Raechelle decided to go back to her roots working at a school. But this time, she had new skills and experiences to draw from. So, she decided to become a careers advisor for Calvary Christian College in Townsville.
“My official title is 'pathways advisor’,” Raechelle says. She adds that she can now draw on the skills that she obtained during her first placement. “I was working with young people there, helping them get back on their feet or make plans and look at their future,” she says. This also included finding out how one has to apply to get into TAFE, or how to apply for apprenticeships.
Raechelle says one of the things she loves about her work is having one-on-one time with her students. “When you're a teacher, you're often managing twenty to thirty students,” she says. “Now, I meet a child in a one-on-one interview session — that's basically 45 minutes — in grade 10, and then again in grade 11 and grade 12. They are given the time to open up about what they want to do after they graduate from school.
“We talk about their grades, what their interests are and what their hobbies are. I get a sense of who they are, and we have the time to discuss the things that they need to know to get there.”
However, working as a student career advisor is not only about the students, but also about the parents. “It's really cool to have parents come in, and parents have a say in the process as well. Nine times out of ten, the parents are incredibly supportive,” Raechelle says.
In rare cases, however, parents and guardians may be less supportive . “Sometimes, Mum and Dad want them to be a doctor or a lawyer, and the kid doesn't want to do that. Then it's up to me to navigate that conversation with them as well,” Raechelle says. “I think, especially that second placement working at the GP clinic was very helpful when it comes to these conversations. At the clinic, I worked with adults of all different ages. I learned to talk to other adults as an adult, not just as their kid’s teacher.”
Why become a social worker?
Raechelle is passionate about being a social worker. “Working as a pathways advisor, I'm making a huge difference for these young people, helping them to find their very own path in life. But aside from that, as a social worker, you get to meet some amazing people.
“Being a social worker can also help you to understand who you are, solidify those values and maybe even challenge some of the values you held previously. It helps you to become a more complete person, which will in turn assist with making better choices for your clients.”