#GradStories Sarah Joyce, Project Worker, Peter McVerry Trust
What is your name, job title and employer?
My name is Sarah Joyce and I am a project worker with the Peter McVerry trust.
What are the main tasks you do in your job in a normal week?
My role within the Peter McVerry trust is as a project worker. I work in STA’s, Supported Temporary Accommodation which most people would know as hostels. My day will begin with a shift planning meeting, so this is a meeting among all the staff coming on shift to plan out the day. It's vitally important because it gives the day structure and it gives each staff member definition on what their role is for that day. I can spend the morning possibly going to a viewing with a key client, my afternoon may consist of supporting a different client to a medical appointment, my evening could be serving up dinner, then like today there would always be health and safety checks. Key working is so important. I always aspire to do between five and seven sessions a day. We're helping people set up an email first and foremost, set up a draft account, I would do mock interviews on how you present to a landlord, what type of questions you would ask and just trying to source as many viewings as possible. Then also helping people with looking at educational opportunities or job opportunities as well.
What skills do you need to be successful in your role?
The small victories are equally as important, and I just think that that is something really important to recognise if people are thinking of going into this type of job It's all relative; making someone a cup of tea when they're having a really bad day and taking that 15 minutes to sit down and say do you want to talk about it. Maybe they don't nut maybe they just want you to sit there and be present in that moment with them. I think patience, certainly kindness and I think just being able to recognise that everything is important and you're working with people. People are diverse, people are complicated, people just need that support with the big things, the small things and everything in between.
What do you love about your job?
I absolutely love my job. For me social care is about working with people to help them to become the best version of themselves. I worked with a participant once who had never ever used computers or technology at all and had a bit of a phobia about it so we sat down and we made an email address and that participant was able to email a family member and they were so proud and it was such a massive moment for them. And in that day and in that moment it was huge.
What did you do as a student that has helped you most in your career?
While in college it is really important to always take time to plan placements. It's a great way to get an idea of the job, of everything that would be involved in your day to day work. You're there as a student so you're there to shadow and to learn so it's a really nice space to get to see what it would entail without having as much responsibility as when you will be a frontline staff member.
What was your career break?
Beginning the grad program, I went from a relief staff into this full-time role. I received so much training I felt so prepared. I think that's amazing to be able to say because it can be a difficult job and to have received as much training and to walk into it thinking, ok I can do this, and you'd have a situation you just reflect back ok, no we discussed this if this happened this is what I'm going to do and for me that was fantastic.