Psychology students venture overseas for much desired work experience

Leicester students, Kona Rogers and Ryan Selby, gain crucial experience participating in a Mental Health Placement with SLV.Global

Around 4,000 Psychology graduates will apply for a Clinical Psychology Doctorate in 2019, although there are only 550 available spaces in the UK. This means under 14% of applicants will be successful and, in many cases, those who obtain these elusive spots will have applied before.

With such fierce competition in the field of psychology, work experience is of great importance, though sourcing this experience is not always easy. This is why University of Leicester students, Kona Rogers and Ryan Selby, decided to venture further afield to gain the crucial experience they needed, travelling abroad to participate in a Mental Health Placement with SLV.Global.

SLV.Global is a mental health organisation which provides Psychology students and graduates the opportunity to gain practical psychology work experience in various unique, professional settings abroad. Placements offer participants the chance to increase their knowledge of global mental health at the same time as putting their existing skills to good use.

The University of Leicester Career Development Service has been partnering with SLV Global for a number of years to help recruit Psychology students to their placements to enable them to gain relevant experience for Psychology related careers.

Students prepare for their placement by completing The Leicester Award Programme, which provides them with the opportunity to develop key transferable skills, the ability to action plan for their next steps and progress through an assessment process for opportunities such as the SLV.Global placement.

Kona and Ryan were trained and supported by local professionals to help equip them with the skills to work sensitively within another culture, and in often under-resourced facilities and challenging environments. For 8 and 5 weeks respectively, Kona and Ryan worked with service users of all ages, backgrounds and abilities on their placement.

SLV.Global projects all have the same focus: to promote positive mental health by boosting confidence, increasing self-esteem and improving key life skills through facilitating creative, cognitive, educational and physical sessions. Kona and Ryan facilitated fun, meaningful sessions to increase intellectual and social stimulation, as well as much-needed human contact to individuals who, due to a lack of resources, are often treated with medication alone.

Over the past eight years, over 5,000 Psychology students have joined SLV.Global to gain the hands-on, cross-cultural experience necessary to get ahead in the increasingly competitive mental health sector.

Kona said: “My placement with SLV.Global was a great way to become immersed in a new culture, have the opportunity to meet wonderful people from all backgrounds and help to develop creative ways to approach mental health, learning new ways to apply it to a range of projects.”

Ryan said: “Sri Lanka was the best experience I have ever had. It has really showed me that I want to pursue this career path and will push me to do well in the future.”

In partnership with the Career Development Service, SLV Global have run information sessions on campus to enable students to find out about placements and to meet previous students who have participated in the programme.  Through the Leicester Award programme students are able to prepare for and undertake a placement or other significant professional experience to ensure they have relevant skills and experience for their next steps.

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