How Riley took community services skills to next level

VU student Riley Lawrance at their placement with the Sunshine Sports Program.
There’s such an importance of giving young people an environment where they can be themselves but also be exposed to the endless support that is available for them. The programs I helped with during this placement showed me that and much more.

Riley Lawrance
Diploma of Community Services CHC52015 & Diploma of Community Development CHC52115

Earlier this year, VU in the Community partnered with Brimbank City Council and the Le Mana Pasifika Youth Project at the Centre for Multicultural Youth. The program utilised sport and outdoor activities to engage local CALD youth in a positive and welcoming environment, to enhance wellbeing and explore future pathways for Brimbank’s young people.

Diploma of Community Services CHC52015 student Riley Lawrance did their placement with the Sunshine Sports program. Despite some initial hiccups in their study journey, Riley was able to find their path and benefit from hands-on experience in their field.  

"With complete honesty, I was originally pursuing a career in barbering, but just before I applied for the Diploma of Community Services CHC52015 , I learned that I had a specific kind of epilepsy that would impact that career. I was heartbroken but remembered that my goal was to help people.

So, I looked back at my life and wondered how I could continue that goal. My first thought was social work – thankfully [VU offers] pathways via this Diploma so I applied on a whim, unsure whether I would like it but knowing it would help me get to where I want to be. I have absolutely no regrets. What I’ve learned will stick with me for life.

I ended up doing a dual Diploma of Community Services CHC52015 and Community Development CHC52115, so the biggest enjoyment from this placement was how it perfectly balanced both diplomas, from helping to implement a program with VU and Youth Services, to doing informal outreach during these programs.

The [placement involved] a lot of paperwork! But I loved it, there was never a point where I felt overwhelmed by the tasks I was given. I remember doing a walkthrough of the VU Sunshine Trades Campus and being so worried that I wouldn’t be professional enough, but it’s like the past two years came naturally.

As soon as the [Sunshine Sports] program implementation was confirmed, we were able to watch it come to life. I enjoyed going each Friday afternoon – I got the opportunity to learn from organisations that I used in mock programs and projects in my Diploma. I thought I would enter this placement with one mentor, my placement supervisor, but I left with many who have all individually taught me valuable knowledge.

There’s such an importance of giving young people an environment where they can be themselves but also be exposed to the endless support that is available for them. The programs I helped with during this placement showed me that and much more.

[I would tell other students to] put your hand up for every learning opportunity given during your placement – yes, I mean every single one!

Throughout my placement, I not only helped with the Sunshine Sports Program, but I also got the privilege of helping with an art mural designed by young people and a five-week event to celebrate a new chill zone for young people. I [was exposed] to so many different experiences, and the Sunshine Sports Program set me up to handle them. I know it may seem daunting to just openly accept everything, but you’d be surprised at how much you can learn not only about the career you’re about to go in, but about yourself as well."