The prospect of working full-time in a year-long professional placement sounded like an extremely beneficial and eye-opening opportunity, especially as a young person wanting to explore their passions and capabilities in a practical setting. I knew I had a lot to gain by immersing myself in a completely new environment. It has challenged me to explore my independence and professionalism.

My dad also studied at Swinburne and undertook a professional placement back in 1982. He recommended I do the same when I was in VCE choosing my university preferences, so I have him to thank too!

Media and Communications professional placement student, Elysia.

My role as a Communication Technology Design Officer with Scope’s Community Inclusion Resource Centre (CIRC) is to design and produce a range of non-electronic communication aids for people with disabilities. After doing the morning coffee run with some colleagues, my typical day in the office usually involves designing visual and written documents on the computers using software such as Adobe Indesign, as well as being in the production room using the guillotine and laminator to produce communication aids. One thing that I appreciate about this role is the variety and flexibility of work tasks. When I feel that I’m being too sedentary at the desk and need to take a break, I have the option of jumping into some production. There’s a great sense of achievement that comes from being able to physically hold a communication aid that you’ve designed and produced yourself!

Some of the highlights of my placement have been the multiple opportunities to practice my passion for filmmaking, helping produce promotional video content for various Scope projects. Back in May, I filmed and edited a short video for the Key Word Sign partnership with National Simultaneous Storytime event, where we filmed Elizabeth Brownlie signing this year’s children’s book, ‘Alpaca’s with Maraccas!’. This was played live on the day so all families across Australia could read along together.

Similarly, I had the opportunity to create a video promoting the new eLearning modules for Scope’s partnership with Medibank’s 1800Respect helpline. Alongside these achievements, it’s been very rewarding being able to create communication aids for people with disabilities, knowing that each individual aid will help enable people to feel empowered.

Rather than stepping into this placement as a student majoring in Cinema and Screen studies, something that seemed totally irrelevant to the disability industry, I grounded myself as someone who has always had a passion for visual communication and human connection.

  • "I knew that exploring a whole new industry field may encourage me to expand my knowledge about communication, its important role in our society and what it truly means to people."

    Elysia , Bachelor of Media and Communications (Professional)

This experience has reminded me why I love what I study and has brought a fresh perspective to my passion for filmmaking and storytelling as visual forms of communication. I feel privileged to be able to have had this placement experience, and be able to walk away with new found skills and knowledge about the workforce. It has given me a sense of confidence as a young person stepping into the world and I feel prepared and inspired to pursue a future career path within film, or in any workforce for that matter.

The office culture here in CIRC is relaxed and respectful. Everyone here is friendly, accommodating and supportive, which makes work enjoyable because you feel valued as an employee. One thing I appreciate about the managers here in CIRC is the level of trust they uphold in staff by not micromanaging. I feel more empowered to do my work when I feel respected by authority figures who trust me to complete tasks and manage my own time. I come to work feeling safe, valued, supported and enabled to do my work to the best of my abilities.

I’m going to continue to enjoy majoring in Cinema and Screen Studies, as my passion for film and storytelling acts as a driving force in my future career path. I feel more open minded and I’d love to apply the skills I’ve gained into my studies. Many of these relate to behavioural changes I’ve picked up and evolved whilst on placement, such as healthy sleeping patterns and planning out my day/week using my Outlook calendar to hold myself accountable and refrain from procrastinating work tasks.

I’m confident that the skills and knowledge I’ve gained whilst in this full-time placement has equipped me with the right tools to step into another full-time position and will serve as a huge benefit in appealing to future employers. What I am hoping will be clear to my future employers is a young candidate who has experience in the demands of full-time work, and understands the kind of discipline required, having proven a willingness to adapt to this lifestyle whilst maintaining positive attitudes to working life and job opportunities.

Being in a professional placement allows you to develop a deeper understanding of who you aspire to be and what you want to do in your life. You gain new insights and a better understanding of what it means to work professionally within an organisation and you can implement these skills into your studies and everyday lifestyle. It’s an opportunity to step out of that student bubble and experience what it is like in the ‘real world’ and what life could be like after graduating from university, ultimately setting you up for future employment.

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A placement is your chance to fully immerse yourself in an organisation and gain valuable industry experience that will generate real outcomes for your future. Find out how you can secure a placement.

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