Industry Showcase: Social Work - Pact Dunedin

By Emma Turner | Posted: Monday October 2, 2017

Ever considered social work as a career path? We spoke to Pact Dunedin about what types of personal qualities and skills the industry requires. 

Pact is an organisation that has four locations around NZ - Invercargill, Dunedin, The West Coast and Wellington. As a collective, they offer a wide range of services that focus on supporting people with everything from substance abuse, intellectual disabilities to mental health issues. Their core message is to support people to be able to lead fulfilling lives. What would it take to work in such job? We had a chat with Pact Dunedin’s Strategic Analyst Steve Catty, and Client Outcomes Manager Dion MacLeod, about the skills that the job requires.

Pact employs 440 staff and support over 1600 clients. This is a massive cohort. With the inclusion of Wellington earlier this year, numbers doubled. This creates a massive web of support and a lot of people to bounce your ideas off. This also allows for a lot of diversity in the roles while providing an understanding of what people deal with on a daily basis.

“It's all about gaining skills with how to be around people who, for whatever reason are requiring support. Connecting with people, using sound problem solving abilities and linking in with the community are desired qualities required to excel in this industry. You might be involved in ensuring that daily health needs are met while making a positive step toward a goal someone has in place."

 To get a job in this industry requires a skill set based around being vibrant, innovative and professional. You are aiding people to help them lead a fulfilling life, so you have got to be supportive and caring, but you also need to be able to challenge the individuals to ensure that they get the best from the support they are given. 

“We try to promote a sense of fun and focus on what the people want to do, and hopefully this translates back into the type of support people. In the past, support work has traditionally been viewed as low payed and unskilled. The recent government injection of increased wages by a considerable amount has people starting to take notice. There are clear career pathways with increasing opportunities to gain qualifications while you work. Pact are at the cutting edge of support work and back this up with research and evidence based practice."

The support work that you complete will be all about driving change and seeing that process from beginning to end. The skills and qualities that will come out of working in the job lend themselves to a whole host of careers.

“You don’t need anything behind you but a good attitude. The job is all about driving change - you’ve got to be driven and want to make a difference and help the people you are supporting find a way that they can help themselves. Pact is very well resourced, including a sensory room, market gardens and social networking hubs. The chance to unlock people's potential is unlimited."

If you are interested in finding more about how you can enter this industry and make a difference - check out Pact on the Youth Employment Success website to see all the opportunities that they offer https://youthemployer.nz/employers/pact

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