Success for Criminology students receiving job offers before graduating

Friday, 15 November 2019

Work placement opportunities lead to full time jobs.

The first group of students from the University of Newcastle’s Criminology Major in the BSocSci degree, which was started 3 years ago, are soon to graduate. Several of the students will finish university having been offered jobs while on work placement, even before their studies are completed.

Discipline Leader of Criminology, Dr Xanthé Mallett said the students currently complete 80 hours of work placement at host organisations in the last semester of their final year.   From 2020, they will be able to do up to 200 hours across the entire academic year, increasing their employability.

“We had 26 students recently complete their placement at Community Corrections, and of those 6 students were offered employment. It’s a great result and it is excellent to see that UON’s criminology course has prepared the students well for the workforce,” Dr Mallett said.

Dr Mallett said in addition to Community Corrections, Criminology students in 2020 will undertake work placement with Juvenile Justice, NSW Police and local non-government organisations such as Vocal, a domestic violence victim service.

“Placement gives real world context to the theory students have learnt throughout their program.  It opens their eye to things that aren’t black and white - the criminal justice system is very nuanced and many offenders have been victims themselves, so it’s about making them familiar with the many grey areas of criminology.”

Erin Ayscough is a third year Criminology student who completed her placement at Community Corrections, shadowing Community Corrections Officers as they wrote case notes, conducted home visits, wrote reports and conducted interviews with offenders.

She says the experience taught her that not all offenders look like the stereotypical societal view of an offender.

“A lot of the offenders I interacted with were your everyday type of individuals who you would smile at while walking around the supermarket, for example. I also learnt in depth about what Community Corrections does and how they reintegrate offenders back into society,” she said.

Erin has been offered a full-time Case Manager position with Community Corrections, and is excited to be able to begin her unique and well paying career straight out of university.

“I’ve always been fascinated as to why offenders do what they do and I’m such a strong believer in rehabilitation and reintegration into society. I definitely did the right degree and now I get to help offenders reintegrate into society and access the help they need.”

She says that during her placement her attitude towards people and the reporting of crime changed.

“I gained a lot more empathy for individuals who find themselves in these bad situations especially when they’re caught up in the criminal justice system,” she said. “I definitely believe that theoretical criminology is very useful in the real world. Without the knowledge I gained from my degree I would struggle with working for Community Corrections. I also believe that during my placement and my time in my degree, my perception of the media coverage of crime has changed. You read something and you usually believe it’s right and it’s very black and white, however, there are always reasons and underlying factors as to why anything happened but you never see that being reported.”

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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.