Swinburne student Megan Kelly is undertaking a first of its kind professional placement at a not-for-profit organisation, thanks to the support of a charitable trust.
Understanding that not all organisations can afford to host a paid professional placement student, Swinburne has created a model that gives charitable organisations a new way to give back and build not-for-profits’ organisational capacity.
The Collier Charitable Fund is the first organisation to take part in the new model, funding the placement of Media and Communication student, Ms Kelly, at not-for-profit, Launch Housing. Launch Housing is a Melbourne based community agency working towards ending homelessness.
“The approach being undertaken by Swinburne and Collier is just another example of how we can support not-for-profit organisations,” says Executive Officer of the Collier Charitable Fund, Wendy Lewis.
“It is also an opportunity to support and mentor students who are interested in making a difference.”
Working at Launch Housing has given Ms Kelly an insight into the challenges faced by not-for-profit organisations. It has also taught her about producing written and visual resources to lobby government for change and raise awareness of issues within the community.
As part of her placement, Ms Kelly has toured Launch Housing sites to better understand the homelessness services’ system and the difficulties faced by people experiencing a housing crisis. She has also helped produce interviews with Launch Housing clients as part of their marketing activities.
Ms Kelly says her proudest achievement has been preparing information packages about Launch Housing and homelessness in Australia.
The resources she has created will be shared with students and teachers. This will streamline the Launch Housing team’s work and allow them to increase their reach and impact.
“I’m incredibly proud of the work I have created with Launch Housing and am surprised by how much I have been able to complete in such a short amount of time,” says Ms Kelly.
“Working on projects that you know will raise awareness and improve the livelihood of people experiencing homelessness every day puts a bounce in my step. It’s the best part of working at Launch Housing.”
Fundraising and Business Development Lead at Launch Housing, Kalimar Donvin-Irons, says the organisation is very grateful to the Collier Charitable Fund.
“Without the support and generosity of the Collier Charitable Fund, we would not be able to take part in a program such as this,” she says.
“Partnering with them to initiate this placement has been such a success for Launch Housing.”
Swinburne hopes this will be the first of many placements to be funded by charitable organisations or socially responsible companies and offered at not-for-profit organisations.
Beyond her placement, Ms Kelly plans to continue working in the not-for-profit sector.
“This placement has helped me define my future career path, because I can now say with certainty that I want to remain in the field of not-for-profit and work for companies that strive for social change,” says Ms Kelly.
“In returning to my studies, I hope to maintain the connections I have made throughout my placement and to continue volunteering for causes that reflect my own beliefs.”
To learn more about hosting a Swinburne student at your organisation, please visit Working with our students.