Tiyon Nettles, speaks about her experience on a work placement with Kineara

As part of her Masters Degree with Middlesex University, Tiyon was required to undertake two work placements within the field of social work. Her first role brought her to Kineara, where she has recently completed a 70-day placement.

“I needed to find a placement that would allow me to gain experience and insight within the not-for-profit sector. The university found the placement for me. I was interviewed by Housing Project Manager Sandra Axell and thereafter by Kineara’s founder, Maria. I knew immediately from hearing about the organisation and its work that Kineara would be a good fit for me, because I completely get its approach to supporting vulnerable people, basically through empowerment and holistic interpretation of a person’s situation.

By concentrating on individuals’ strengths and giving them tools to empower themselves to drive positive change, Kineara’s approach looks long term at sustaining better outcomes for people, not just temporary fixes, and I really like this way of thinking. It views key aspects of people’s lives holistically; insecure housing and poor health, education and employment because at the end of the day these are all innately linked.”

Working as a student Housing Advisor, Tiyon assisted clients with finding housing and accessing support resources. She was involved in building close relationships with partnering programs such as Southwark Law Centre and Southwark council housing, applying taught social work theory and principles to enhance Kineara’s housing intervention plan. Tiyon recalls several highlights during her time at Kineara:

“Working with the team to provide Christmas gifts to those in need over the holidays was the highlight of my placement. We worked with the local Salvation Army to gather donations of toys for children and other Christmas items – some festive decorations, warm items for cosy nights like slippers and blankets, and some food, depending on what the households needed.

Successfully allocating funding for a family in need from the Southwark Emergency and Hardship Foundation was also a key highlight of my placement.

I was also invited to be a part of Kineara’s strategy day with the whole team. A mix of informal team building and discussing the company’s short and long-term goals for the future, it was interesting and inspiring to be involved and feel like my contributions were valued.”

But the experience wasn’t always highs; as many of you working in Kineara’s line of work will know, roles like this can come with lows too:

“On one occasion, being unable to help a client locate housing before their eviction day really dispirited the client and for me was a disappointing experience. When things like this happen, it can really weigh on your mind. You need to remind yourself to stay cheerful and remember you can’t always achieve 100% success.”

With all this in mind, Tiyon reflects on the key learning she has drawn from her time at Kineara:

“The first key thing I learnt ‘in the field’ so to speak, was about applying anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive principles to my everyday dealings with clients, considering inequality in all its dimensions – class, economic status, age, sexuality, faith, and belief.

Over time I also started to understand and identify when legislation and policy was constraining a client’s rights, as well as recognising the impact of poverty and social exclusion on Kineara’s efforts to improve the economic standing of its clients.

In my brief time at Kineara, Sandra Axell and Maria Morgan have been instrumental in giving me valuable experience to enrich and support my academic learning, as well as space to be myself and shine. I would also like to thank the wider team for being extraordinary! “

Now Tiyon has finished with Kineara, she is working her second placement over 100 days, undertaking statutory work within another Local Authority in London, after which she will graduate with an MA in Social Work in September 2023.

Thank you Tiyon for your hard work and the best of luck with your future in social work!