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Where are they now? with Alex

The CIJ catches up with former RMIT Master of Social Work student Alex to find out what she's been up to since graduating.

When did you graduate, what have you been up to since then?

My name is Alex and I completed the Master of Social Work at RMIT in 2018. Since then, I have been working as a Drug and Alcohol Case Manager at the Court Integrated Services Program (CISP) at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.  CISP is primarily focused on providing forensic and community-based therapeutic supports to people on bail for criminal matters at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

Tell us a little bit about your career journey and why you decided to pursue a social work degree.

Prior to studying my Masters, I worked in school-based youth work for six years and have loved working with young people at CISP as it is often their first entry point into the adult justice system. I’m hoping to continue study in the area of addictive behaviours and how the justice system can better respond to the needs of women. Above all, I would like to become a better therapeutic practitioner and advocate for the rights of clients who come through the program.

What involvement did you have with CIJ while completing your degree?

I completed my final student placement as part of the RMIT MSW at the Centre for Innovative Justice in July 2018. My classmate and I worked on a research project into women’s decarceration to address the rapidly escalating rates of women being imprisoned in Victoria. We met with practitioners in the field to ask about the ways in which we can better advocate for systemic change and practically support women when exiting custody to prevent cycling through the system.  I owe a lot to the social work placement program at CIJ and the trust they placed in myself and my classmate to engage complex issues and interdisciplinary practice principles.

If you have one piece of advice to give students, what would that be?

My advice to any social work student beginning their career in the justice space would be  to trust your gut, take stock of the small wins and trust your client to lead the way in everything you do.