From studying Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Practice at Coleg Gwent to now doing a Post Graduate Diploma at University of South Wales in Newport and having his own private counselling practice, Tony Hardy tells us how vital and life changing his work experience placement has been with local mental health charity Mind Monmouthshire, along with the impact that having a good quality mentor has had along the way.
Placement student and valued member of the team Tony said:
“I did my first placement with Mind Monmouthshire in 2017 when I was studying my Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Practice at Coleg Gwent. I’d had previous involvement with the charity, so it was an obvious choice for me. I had an interview and received the exciting news that I was to start with Nick and the team in Abergavenny. Now, as part of my Post Graduate Diploma at University South Wales Newport, which I started in 2019, I am on my second placement with Mind Monmouthshire, who have helped me gain over 260 hours experience over the course of the two placements.
I have genuinely loved every minute of my placements, and it has been such an important part of my life over the past 4 years. Gaining on-the-ground experience and having a quality mentor has helped me get to where I am today. Through the encouragement and support of Nick Price I now believe in myself a lot more. I have worked with many individuals who have needed a wide range of support to help them in their day-to-day lives. I am very proud to have never declined to work with any individual and I believe I have benefited from the breadth of experience that has given me.
I have learned practical, skills which emphasises the importance of a placement as part of a university course. A quality placement is so important not just to gain experience and skills but to help you grow and develop. I have had incredible support during my placement including advice, training, a safety net of policies and procedures, as well as access to the resources available in the wider organisation beyond the counselling team. There is a great camaraderie here. I really feel part of the team. I have been allowed to trust my own judgement and have had the opportunity to grow.
Thanks to my experiences with Mind Monmouthshire and my college and university courses, I’m now working in private practice as a counsellor. My next ambition is to complete my Post Graduate Diploma and possibly go on to do the Master’s year, and to establish and grow my private practice.
Hardly a day goes by when I’m not using something I’ve learned from my placement. It has been such a great place to work, and I have learned so much from my time here. I’ve grown immensely in confidence, and I’ve met some amazing people. I can’t speak highly enough of Mind Monmouthshire and just want to thank everyone for having me”.
Counselling Lead at Mind Monmouthshire Nick Price said:
“We have been so lucky to have Tony, he has been an asset for the organisation and has helped so many individuals in life along the way. He has grown and developed and it is great to see, and be a part of, his journey.
At Mind Monmouthshire we have provided as many as 18 student counsellor placements and on average per a year volunteers gain 560 hours of experience and support. It is something we have just done but I don’t think many people know we have provided this support and helped many people into work and become work ready.
As part of my job when I am not counselling I support the student placements and allow them to grow, I provide advice and support needed. I just really enjoy helping others to achieve their ambitions too, and its great to hear the experience Tony has gained here which he is already using and will go on to use, and I look forward to seeing him grow his own practice and doing great things in life”.
If you would like to know more about the work Mind Monmouthshire please visit www.mindmonmouthshire.org.uk or you can visit their social media channels Twitter: @Mindinmon, Facebook: @MindMonmouthshire
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