UWA student Olivia Adamson has supported valuable advocacy work being done by the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) to help drive social change in WA communities, through an internship with UWA’s McCusker Centre for Citizenship.
Olivia, who is studying a double major in Criminology and Psychology in Society, assisted with the development of communications and advocacy materials to help WACOSS engage with Government and their partner organisations across the community service sector.
The experience allowed Olivia to gain valuable insights into the work being done by WACOSS to advocate for an inclusive, just and equitable society, in particular the role of advocacy in helping policy and decision-makers find the best solutions to persistent problems.
“I really appreciated learning about the different ways to help people experiencing hardship from the ‘back end’ using policy. I gained first-person insight into how best to advocate certain issues to Ministers and organisations,” said Olivia.
During her internship Olivia was able to contribute in a very practical way to the advocacy effort of WACOSS.
“I was able to assist WACOSS update their communication system to all of their partner organisations and also prepare briefing notes for meetings WACOSS had with Government Ministers,” said Olivia.
Internship supervisor and WACOSS Advocacy Lead, Tim Grey-Smith said “Olivia was a great asset to the team in the time she spent at WACOSS. She came with a good understanding of the context in which we operate, and had the analytical and technical skills to meaningfully contribute to our efforts.”
The internship showed Olivia the important role of advocacy in helping people escape poverty and overcome barriers to living their lives.
“I always have had deep sympathy and a non-judgemental approach for people who have experienced hardship, whether temporarily or chronically. However, my internship opened my eyes to just how easy it can be for someone to fall into poverty or difficulty,” she said.
Olivia is thankful for the experience at WACOSS and recommends the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship to other students.
“Having an internship gives you experience in a professional environment, which can be hard to gain and vital in securing a job after graduating. I now have experience of what it’s like working in a professional office environment and what is expected,” said Olivia.