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Placement Reflection by Xanthe Rixon-Caruana

Xanthe is third and final year Bachelor of Youth Work and Youth Studies at RMIT. She completed her placement at the Ballarat Foundation and completed a total of 225 hours. The following is a reflection on the work she achieved at the Foundation.

This year I have been lucky enough to complete my final placement at the Ballarat Foundation alongside Community Impact Manager, Stacey Oliver. Prior to commencing my placement, I was experiencing anxieties about my role within the organisation as I knew it was going to be quite different to my previous placements. I have completed two other placements in the past, one being at a community street soccer program, and another doing research for a cyber safety organisation.

Whilst these placements were beneficial in their own way, I wasn’t entirely challenged within these roles, and I don’t believe they were placements that were meant for someone like me. I am immensely passionate about youth work, therefore it’s important to me and my growth as a student about to enter the youth work field that I am able to develop my skills as a youth worker through these placements to better set me up for my future. Enter, the Ballarat Foundation! What I was most anxious about for this placement was the fact that I was about to take on much more responsibility than I had in my previous placements, and whilst I do consider myself a responsible person, I was really eager to do well but wasn’t sure how I would perform in a setting I was so unfamiliar with.

Now that I have been working with the Ballarat Foundation for about 3 months, my anxieties have definitely been relieved as I am thoroughly enjoying my placement. Undertaking my placement at the Ballarat Foundation has enabled me to tackle a leadership role working with young people that I have had minimal experience with in the past, but I know is vital to my success as a future youth worker.

In this placement I have been able to work directly with young people to advocate for issues that they are passionate about and foster a positive learning environment that both myself and the young people can benefit from. Although the purpose of this placement is to facilitate a committee of young people where they can develop their leadership, advocacy and communication skills, I have found this to be a joint learning experience between myself and the young people.

Over the past few months, I have been able to develop my leadership skills through creating and conducting activities for young people, my advocacy skills through empowering young people to voice issues that they care about and devise solutions for them, and my communication skills through collaborating with others to ensure that both myself and the young people are getting the most out of the Youth Leadership Collective. I believe that my work with the Ballarat Foundation has significantly enabled me to prosper in employment, through providing me with valuable first-hand experience working with young people in an immensely challenging yet gratifying learning environment.

Thank you Xanthe for all your hard work, flexibilty during lockdowns, ideas and collaborations during your time at the Ballarat Foundation.