Prioritising industry exposure for mental health students

20 September 2022

With an importance placed on industry engagement, the Community Services department led by Priscilla Fowler hosted an Industry Day for Certificate IV in Mental Health CHC43315 students across three campuses: Footscray Nicholson, Werribee and City Tower. Students across four mental health groups were in attendance alongside teachers, seniors educators, placement staff and managers.

The support of industry partners

Key industry partners, Candella and Whitelion, attended the day to promote the important work happening in the mental health sector. Candella is a non-profit organisation that believes quality mental health services should be available to as many people as possible. They focus on providing mental health support that empowers individuals, builds capacity, supports independence and works collaboratively. Meanwhile, Whitelion focuses on supporting highly vulnerable, high risk young people (10–24 year olds) in reducing disengagement and increasing pathways to work.

Candella affirmed the training offered by VU Polytechnic as one that develops a diverse, well-prepared workforce – that is:

  • Strengths based
  • Recovery oriented
  • Person-centred
  • Trauma informed
  • Able to participate within a coaching framework.

Hands-on experience

To promote hands-on learning, Candella strongly encouraged students to apply for roles that allowed them to use the skills and knowledge learned in class.

Whitelion also presented a range of programs in youth mentoring and mental health support to students who might be looking to build their experience and skills in a volunteer capacity. Their presentation highlighted the broad scope of work that VU’s training prepares students for.

Shariff, VU Polytechnic alumni (Certificate IV in Mental Health CHC43315), came back to share his experience on doing placement with Whitelion. He was very complementary of the Community Services department and support received from teaching staff. He remembers unit CHCMHS007 Work effectively in trauma informed care as being particularly relevant to his current work. Shariff is a prime example of where VU hopes current students will eventuate — in a role where their training helps them feel fulfilled. The sharing of Shariff’s experience to the present cohort was invaluable.

Glowing student feedback

Upon conclusion of the day, teachers Andrew and Glenn received excited feedback from students that VU’s teaching resources, case studies, role plays, reading materials and industry stories resonated with presentations from industry partners. Jade, a student currently based at Footscray Nicholson campus, commented: “It’s so exciting to know that there are agencies out there who want us to apply for a role with them, right now!”

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