True Stories: Melanie White – Looking for growth

Request - True Stories Picture Melanie White
Looking for Growth!!   When I was in year 10, I did my work experience placement with a social work organisation. I enjoyed it, yet when time came around for me to start uni, I ended up starting a Science degree in Economic Geography. I didn’t like it, so saw the uni careers counsellor and with their guidance, switched to a Social Work degree. It’s funny how things work out like that.

A requirement of my degree was participating in practical placements. My second placement was with UnitingCare and from that placement I secured part-time work with the organisation while I was finishing my degree.

After my degree I was invited to apply for a position with them that focused on young children and families, and child protection, whereby I had to work creatively to solve problems, help support families, help parents be the best they can be and handled crisis intervention in a variety of environments such as personal homes and group homes.

I made the switch to the disability, still within UnitingCare, on my return from maternity leave. I discovered that the skills I developed as a social worker were transferable to disability. I’m currently the Acting Manager of UnitingCare Disability’s Flexible Options Programs, which is about service provision such as respite, living skills and skill development programs to children, young people and adults with disabilities.

As the Acting Manager, I oversee the operations of the different programs, supervise and support staff, manage projects, look after budgets, develop a good team culture, and assess operation and service models that will work well with the NDIS.

Over the years I always have looked for opportunities to learn and grow, so have done secondments to different areas in the sector such as mental health. Being open to learning has helped me progress through my career, so has inviting feedback on my performance, and taking the time to regularly self-reflect.

I have been working as the Acting Manager for a year now, and have just applied for the permanent position. It is early days for me as a manager, so I’m looking forward to learning from other leaders around me and developing further.

Melanie White
Acting Manager, M11
UnitingCare Disability

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