Kate Dooley

Social Worker, Te Puke Community Care - Te Puke, New Zealand

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Social Work

It's quite a jump from duty manager at Mitre 10 to family support social worker, but that's what Kate Dooley has done.

To prepare herself for university study, Kate first completed a Certificate of Social Services at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, then progressed to degree study at the University of Waikato in Tauranga.

Her job involves working with individuals and their whānau to empower them to improve their lives.

"I have to be good at prioritising, be a good listener and problem solver, and do it in a sensitive, encouraging and professional manner," Kate says.

There is plenty of variety to her work and it's often unpredictable. "I meet with clients who may require anything from advice, to advocacy with WINZ, external referrals for things like addictions or legal support. It's a lot about liaison."

The Waikato Bachelor of Social Work programme requires students to do two 60-day work placements. Kate had one with Child Youth and Family, where she learnt a lot about how a statutory agency operates. The other was at the Te Puke Community Care, who are now her employer.

One of Kate's tutors told her that she should treat studying as a full-time job – good advice she says, "and I carried it with me, right through my study".

"I now have an internationally-recognised degree and I'm continuing to follow my passion. I want to get better all the time and one day I'd like to work in the social policy sector, where I can make change at a higher level of welfare, and even go on to work at a global level, perhaps in a third world country with an non-government organisation."

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