While everyone undertaking a child care course or an aged care course has to undertake work placement, there are ways to really make the most of this experience. When on work placement, it is important to be actively engaged with your environment to ensure you truly learn from experienced educators at your placement centre.
When searching for that first job after your studies, engaged placement looks great on any CV. Potential employers will be more inclined to hire the person who can demonstrate their hands-on experience and skills. Engaging with your placement is the best way to turn knowledge into workplace skills.
Actively engaging in placement can be scary, but it is vital to learning your way around the centre and ensuring you provide the best possible care. Ask questions of the centre’s staff and offer to help whenever you can.
So what can you do to ensure your placement experience really complements the theory of your course? We’ve come up with some suggestions of questions to ask and things to watch closely:
- Ask, ask and ask some more! There’s no such thing as a silly question, so put your questions out there and soak up that information
- Always listen to the children. To engage with children effectively you first need to hear what they have to say
- Observe how educators/carers use positive language, never negative. Practice these skills!
Also at a child care centre
- Offer to read to children rather than just listening at story time
- Always listen to the children. To engage with children effectively you first need to hear what they have to say.
- Chat to families and caregivers when they’re in the centre. Even if it’s just saying hi, it’ll build your confidence and give you exposure to this type of interaction
- Offer to change nappies and other clothing
- Get involved with food preparation. This will strengthen your food handling skills as well as your teamwork abilities
- Watch and, when approved, practice heating bottles safely to ensure milk temperature is safe for the child
Also at an aged care facility
- Converse with the seniors at your facility and learn about their needs and behaviors. Effective engagement requires a person to have listening skills.
- Chat to families and aged care providers when they’re in the centre. Even if it’s just saying hi, it’ll build your confidence and give you exposure to this type of interaction.
- Get involved with food/laundry deliveries. This will strengthen your skills as well as your teamwork.
- Watch other aged carers and learn how they operate day-to-day tasks
- Offer to arrange a small activity for the seniors.
It is important to be passionate about the course you choose to study. After choosing a course, the best way to learn is to be in touch with your trainer and placement staff as they hold the knowledge, expertise, and advice.