My SME Internship: Lana – Supported Independence

Hi, I’m Lana. I carried out my SME Internship as a mental health support worker at Supported Independence (SI), within their Redcliffe branch.

I began by attending three days of training: the first two days were company-specific training carried out by SI staff, and the third was run by an external company regarding breakaway and challenging behaviour.  On the days of my inductions, I shadowed a few different experienced mental health support workers with clients they supported.

After approximately one week of shadowing, I began working with clients one-on-one. This included: 

  • meal supporting clients struggling with eating disorders 
  • supporting clients with their day-to-day activities, such as trips to the supermarket, appointments, managing finances, and supporting with medication  
  • listening to those who wanted to talk about how they were feeling. 
Lana drinking a cup of tea

Throughout my internship, I learned how to better support clients in a person-centred way, whereby their individual needs were my priority.

I was given the opportunity to ask other support workers about individual clients’ needs in order to make them feel more comfortable with the way I approach them.

Having such wonderful, empathetic and dedicated managers provided me the opportunity to debrief when a client visit affected me, or left me feeling on edge. ” 

Working at SI has improved my confidence levels, helped me to become more assertive, plus it taught me how to show empathy and support in a way that makes clients comfortable.

Although at times there were challenges, where clients did not respond well to me or felt uncomfortable as a result of me being a new support worker, the support of my colleagues and the SI management put me at ease. Their reassuring nature, and advice when I felt stuck, made this experience the most positive it could have been.  

Although the internship is now completed, I am staying with SI as bank staff and I am looking forward to continuing my journey with them.

“Carrying out this internship was the best decision I have ever made, and I would recommend an internship to anyone.”

It will do one of two things: help you recognise that the career direction you are considering is right for you or steer you away from it and give you the opportunity and time to search for a new career you may be more passionate about. 

As a result of my experience, I feel confident in my journey to becoming a clinical psychologist and now have the confidence and understanding to truly pursue this. I am truly thankful to the Careers Service for this scheme and to SI for giving me the most wonderful month I could possibly ask for. 

Want to be an SME Internship intern? 

The SME Internship Scheme will reopen in the Autumn for the new academic year. Keep an eye on our website for more information, and how to participate.    

Check out our “My SME internship” blog series to hear more student stories and get some inspiration. 

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