Everything falls into place for SEN&I’s Eleanor

Date 7.07.2020

One University student is already making in impact after securing her dream job at a charity a mere 10 days after finishing her dissertation.

Eleanor Ward – from Northampton – completed the last piece of work for her degree in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion (SEN&I) during lockdown and started working as a Case Worker at Thames Valley Partnership very shortly after.

The charity is involved in social justice, reducing exclusion, building social capital and providing support and inclusion for victims and offenders. It is an organisation Eleanor has been passionate about supporting for some time.

She explains: “We had a number of placement opportunities with the SEN&I programme and it’s this that really helped me get the job with TVP. Seeing how they work in a multi-agency, multi-professional way, gaining the confidence to work with professionals across different spectrums, it gave me great insight into how working somewhere like Thames Valley Partnership would feel.

“That was more than a year ago and I feel very accomplished and very happy to be here for real. I can’t begin to thank my lecturer – Nicola Preston – enough, because she introduced me to the organisation. I emailed her recently saying that ‘everything is falling in place!’ something that, with everything going on in the external world, I am very glad to feel!”

Eleanor explains what her day-to-day job involves: “Of course because of the pandemic restrictions, all of my time at the Partnership has so far been virtual. I have never met my team face-to-face…and we still have no official, physical meeting up day.

“I had already been working as a support worker for adults with special needs, although the people I’m supporting now are victims of crime, like trafficking or sexual exploitation and some have gone through really traumatic experiences.

“Even during my degree when we went through role play activities about very difficult scenarios, I was never put off by ‘horror stories’. They actually made me more interested in helping people and having a real impact on their lives.

“I provide practical and emotional support to any of a number of clients. Perhaps they need referring to a national agency, or perhaps they need financial compensation and I will sort that for them or help them complete the right forms. I’m not a trained counsellor so I can’t provide that, but there is a therapeutic aspect to the role and I can signpost people to the right therapeutic services. Day-to-day, they could approach me about anything going in their lives.”

Although it’s very early days for her, Eleanor is already making an impact on the people she is working with: “I had some feedback from one client who told me I was her ‘saviour’. Although I don’t do the job for the thanks, hearing those words really brought home to me why what we do at the Partnership is so important.

“Sadly, there will probably always be victims of crime but equally, there will always be people to offer them a friendly ear and words of support and direction, whether over a cuppa, on a laptop or down a phone line.”