Are you a recently graduated 3rd year or 4th year psychology graduate?
One of the first questions an employer will ask is “where have you completed placements?”.
Australian Psychology programs unfortunately do not provide significant work placements, so most 3rd and 4th year graduates will need to complete another 2 or more years of work in the human services sector to gain credibility in workplace practices, administration management and involvement in team activities.
The demand for such places is very high and students in social work or human services will be more likely to gain paid positions in the community sector as their programs accommodate work placements from the first to fourth year. Psychology graduates are therefore unlikely to gain paid work in positions that will provide exposure to typical psychology or related workplaces.
We are keen to help fill this gap by offering volunteer placements to keen graduates. We will be recruiting 2-4 psych assistants to enter our training program. The program involves volunteering in entry level activities such as administration activities, medium level activities such as answering our phones and while being provided supervision, and more advanced level activities such as working with a designated psychologist in private practice and helping to develop psycho-educational materials, develop web information, and assisting with group training. In addition psych assistants will be invited to attend training within the clinic at no cost. The program involves learning about psychology registration, the 4+2 pathway from our Senior Psychologists such as Vivian Jarrett (Director) and Dr Amanda White.
The program consists of a commitment to working 4 -12 hours per week. Those hours can be weekends, week days or evenings. Our program involves participation in activities focused on entry level to advanced level tasks, depending on competent completion of each stage. We will require you to have a blue card, sign a confidentiality agreement and participate in mandatory group training from time to time.
Stage 1: Maintenance and Administration (50 hrs)
This stage will typically take about 50 hours and involves shadowing an administration staff member, and learning about the way that psychologists work in private practice. Health and safety issues will be covered and location of facilities discussed. The staff will provide support in learning to manage the busy waiting room, process payments, make bookings and maintain the facilities.
Supervision will be provided by call centre staff to answer calls and questions about attending appointments. This stage will typically take 50 hours. From time to time the staff will provide opportunities to work in the key administration role and while managing phone calls.
Stage 3: Independent Administration Management (50 hrs)
This stage typically involves independently running the reception and call centre after being deemed competent from Stage 2. At Stage 3 you will be asked to mentor a graduate like yourself at Stage 1. The tasks involve making decisions about management of client arrivals, call centre enquiries, management of confidential information, appropriate communication and gaining instructions from psychologists and psychiatrists on how to manage their referrals and bookings. This stage will typically take approximately 50 hours.
Stage 4: Research and Development (50 hrs)
By this stage you will have found your niche in our administration team, learnt about MYOB and basics in business book keeping, learnt about health and safety issues in a workplace, provided mentoring support to another graduate like yourself, and been able to work independently to assist psychologists with their practice needs.
We will aim to tailor activities to your interest areas. At this stage you will assist one of the senior psychologists in the clinic to develop psycho-educational materials, work to market a group therapy program, help with the development of new resources to help with depression, anxiety and mental health conditions, public education and/or public or community presentations.
During this stage you will put together a newsletter featuring the psychologists working in the clinic. This involves acquiring the information, proof reading and layout of a newsletter for public distribution on our websites. Your name will go on the newsletter and is evidence of competency in many domains.
During this stage one of our senior psychologists will have spent time working through your objectives and interest areas for career development in stage 4. While you continue to support the administration team you will be able to provide visible support in the way of being actively involved in development of materials, or presenting information to the psychology team or public.
Some examples of independent activities include:
- Development of an information booklet with information written in another language for those that are bilingual. This would be printed and sent to relevant community agencies. (i.e. Mandarin)
- Seek out 3-4 community organisations to present at our clinic training evenings. You would be the facilitator and present your the reasons for inviting the organisations that will attend.
- Develop games/therapy aids for children who have conditions like social anxiety, ADHD or depression.
- Develop a booklet listing all the latest apps that psychologists can use to help clients. (i.e. mood charts, eating diaries, etc)
- Develop one or more website resources for the public. (i.e. relaxation for children, exercise and music, how to manage exams, etc)
More than one activity can be completed, providing increased evidence of your professional skills and will place you in an excellent position to gain paid employment in the human services sector.
*Note on Intellectual Property: Authored materials will contain your name if the majority of the research was your own, and the supervising psychologist will be considered a co-author or second author depending.
We have limited paid positions, but completion of the 500-600 hour program ensures that you will be eligible for recruitment into paid reception, psych assistant and internship positions if viable for our organisation. On occasion goodwill can be accrued and while the current 4+2 model for psychology registration is too demanding to manage in a medium sized clinic like ours, there may be options in the future if internships are needed in a 5+1 year internship model. Our volunteers will be placed in an excellent position to be short listed and offered an internship if they became available.
What do I do now if I’m interested?
Please forward your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
List your preference for our volunteer training program. We also want to know:
- Available hours and how many hours you would like to volunteer
- When you are committed to another job
- What you would like to learn in this position
- Whether you are keen to do further study at some point in the future
- Favourite areas of interest. Which groups are you keen to work with in the future?
- What sort of things are you best at, and what things are more challenging for you?
That way we can ensure we place you into our program with others with complementary skills, so that you will learn more effectively.
Many thanks! I look forward to meeting you soon.