Our first ever cadets in the Community Legal Centres NSW Cadetship Program were the brilliant Krystal Ingram, Tonyka Jamieson and Oliver John Williams. Hear their thoughts below from interviews they did as they undertook the cadetship program.
Krystal Ingram did her Bachelor of Social Work student from Western Sydney University and completed a placement at Public Interest Advocacy Centre, in the Homeless Persons Legal Service. Krystal said:
My experience so far as been extremely positive. When I applied for the cadetship I was intimated by the thought of working in a legal setting. So, naturally, I applied for the community legal centre cadetship to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
As a social worker, especially a student, working in a legal setting can be challenging. Even so far, it’s allowed me to challenge myself in understanding how to support clients in an integrated practice.
The most interesting aspect of PIAC to me is how they are challenging the system by taking a grassroots approach with their StreetCare program. As a social worker I value the knowledge and experience of individuals with lived experience of homelessness. It’s awesome to see a big organisation as PIAC involve themselves in such a project.
I think what I most look forward to in my cadetship is further understanding the legal concerns facing individuals with lived experience of homelessness. When I finish my degree I would love the opportunity to work in a setting where they work with clients with lived experience of homelessness. I look forward to collaborating further with people who are experiencing homelessness and refining my skills as a future social worker out in the field.
The reason why I wanted to join community legal centres is I feel social workers don’t get enough legal training. Clients are often presenting with complex problems, often intertwined with legal concerns. This reiterates to me the importance of an integrated and why social workers are important in that integrated practice.
I look forward to being able to go out to the clinics that Homeless Persons Legal Service does when I stop working from home. So far, it’s been a really positive experience, and I look forward to learning more along the way.
Tonyka Jamieson is an Awabakal woman from Lake Macquarie NSW, who studied her Juris Doctor at the University of New South Wales. Tonyka said:
I am fortunate to be undertaking my first 6-month rotation at the University of Newcastle Legal Centre. I am loving it! Everyday I am there, I am doing different tasks and learning different things. It is wonderful to finally be able to put the skills and knowledge acquired throughout my degree into practice, and further develop these skills to assist me in getting ready for a legal career once graduated.
With a previous background in social welfare, working in a community legal centre provides me with the opportunity to combine this with legal services. Many clients who visit the centre are impacted by a range of factors, often outside the legal realm. Working within a community legal centre has given me the ability to combine my background in social welfare, and my legal studies to support vulnerable clients as much as possible!
Oliver John Williams is a Wiradjuri man from Cowra who studied a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice/Law at UNSW. He chose to work at Seniors Rights Service, and loved the community outreach aspects of the work. Oliver said:
Being here and amongst it all, it’s really opened my mind and perspective to a lot of the injustices that can occur to the elderly. I really want to continue doing this work. I’m really excited for the future.
I feel very nurtured. Going to outreach clinics has been some of my favourite stuff in the program. Building that community rapport has been really good.
One thing that I’ve taken from this job and cadetship is that I would rather get a smile and a cup of coffee than any amount of money whatsoever. Just seeing the aunts and uncles and all of the seniors smile and be so happy that we’re helping them … it’s just more than anything is ever worth.