Proud Wiradjuri man and Social Work (Honours) student, Michael, is living a dream come true.
With a diverse upbringing and extensive career in hospitality and music, Michael has developed and explored his passion for social justice, human rights, political change, total inclusivity, equity in education and community empowerment.
From “growing up in the bush around Moree as a kid” to “being a part of the vibrant surf and skate scene of Maroubra in the 90’s and working with the punks, artists and social activists of the Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide music landscape,” Michael’s lived experience is anything but ordinary.
So, when it came time for the next big step in his career, social work just made sense.
“Social work really is where I was always meant to be. It continues to be a transformative experience and the learning, deep reflection, and self-exploration that’s encouraged throughout the program has had an astonishing impact upon my growth as a developing social worker.
“The University of Newcastle chose me in as much as I chose it. Newcastle was the perfect place to support my son through his final years of high school, and to obtain that elusive degree I had always promised myself,” he said.
Not only has the degree program been a life-changing experience for Michael, but the relationships with his peers and teachers along the way have contributed greatly.
“The day-to-day interpersonal challenges and shared experiences within my cohort has been one of the biggest highlights of my degree.
“The teachers, lecturers and industry professionals we are fortunate to have as our program facilitators are so open, engaging, and generous with their time. They continue to provide an incredible degree of real and honest personal experience, practical expertise, and professional insight,” he said.
One of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences of Michael’s study journey so far, has been undertaking professional placement.
“The greatest thing from placement was that it shifted my perspective and consolidated my passion and focus for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities, reinforcing my intention to commit to the respectful learning and experiential cultural engagement necessary to do this work honestly, ethically, and effectively.
“Social work is the perfect balance between practical experience, theoretical application, critical self-analysis, ethical understanding and a facilitated exploration of personal growth and development that are all imperative to a career in social work,” he said.
Upon completion of his degree, Michael plans to work as a social worker in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.
“My goal is to become the best social worker I possibly can, bearing in mind that this work takes committed action, real connection, honesty, understanding, patience and time,” he said.
Michael's day to day life is anything but ordinary. Discover how the University of Newcastle takes part in this.
Social Work is the perfect balance between practical experience, theoretical application, critical self-analysis, ethical understanding and a facilitated exploration of personal growth and development.
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.