University awards Anglicare social work scholarship
The recipient of the University of Tasmania’s 2021 Anglicare Scholarship in Social Work is Tamar Campbell. We caught up with Tamar between assignments to find out what led her down this career path.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in Devonport and I’ve lived on the North West Coast all my life. I went to Burnie High School and then Hellyer College and now I’m in my final year of studying Social Work at the UTAS Cradle-Coast campus. I studied part-time in my third year so that I could support myself by working in hospitality, so this is my fifth year of study.
I live near the beach at Ulverstone and I love anything to do with the outdoors, like running and bushwalking and I also took up mountain biking during COVID. I also love yoga and music, especially playing the guitar.
What made you think of social work as a career?
My mum trained in social work so I always had those values around me. After Hellyer College I took a gap year and did a certificate in hospitality. I worked at Café Umami in Wynyard. It’s a small community and the customers started to tell me about their lives – they confided in me. The café provided customers with physically nourishing food and I started to think about the importance of emotional nourishment as well.
Some of my family members experience mental illness and I value being able to care for them. Sometimes I feel there’s a tension between my lived experience and my academic studies, but this can also be a positive thing.
How has COVID affected your studies?
UTAS moved online very quickly when COVID hit. It’s been a really good mix of on-campus and online learning. Every fortnight I go to Launceston and it’s great to meet other people with the same shared values.
In third year we couldn’t have our usual practical placement so instead we were put into groups of six students from around the State. We met over Zoom. We worked alongside an organisation called ‘Restless Development’ that works with young people across the globe. Our team worked on projects for the office in Nepal – it was really interesting to see social work in action in a different culture.
I’ve also really enjoyed helping other students as a ‘Drop In’ program tutor. We help students from any degree area to access resources, plan assignments and connect with their lecturers. I know how valuable it is because peer support was a life-saver for me early on in my degree.
What practice areas are you most interested in?
Children and families are my passion. I’m also currently working for Relationships Australia as a support worker with the aim to be trained in case management.
What is the outlook like for work on the North West Coast?
There is a real concentration of disadvantage on the North-West Coast, so I’m confident about finding work. There’s a lot of scope for work within government and non-government organisations. There is a need for allied health professionals in our rural towns.
Can you see yourself working elsewhere?
I’ve recently become aware of my indigenous Tasmanian heritage and am becoming involved in my local Aboriginal community. I’ve traced my ancestry back to Mannalargenna. He was a chief of the plangermaireener clan of the Ben Lomond region who negotiated directly with George Augustus Robinson. It really hit home to me that we are not educated about our history at school. I am taking advantage of the stigma attached to Aboriginal identity slowly being broken down, and reclaiming my heritage. I like the idea of giving voice to the community, my community and that of others. I have thought about working in a remote Indigenous community elsewhere in Australia – but at the same time, this is home, and I would love to assist with the need that is here.
How will the Anglicare scholarship help you with your studies?
Studying, helping my family with their personal challenges and working to cover my living expenses can be exhausting. The scholarship will mean that I will be able to study full-time, support my family members and look after myself. It will really take the pressure off. I am very grateful to Anglicare for assisting me with my studies this year.
What advice would you give someone considering a social work career?
If you have a passion for helping others, not just individuals but the greater community, social work is the perfect degree. It’s important to always remember why you chose it, and why you are doing it.
Congratulations and best wishes, Tamar, from all of us at Anglicare Tasmania.
The Anglicare Scholarship in Social Work is worth $5,000 and is made available each year to a final year student of social work at the University of Tasmania. The University selects the scholarship winner.
You can read an interview with 2020 scholarship recipient Jessanna Gent here. Jessannna is now employed by Anglicare as a project officer in the Communities for Children program we operate in the Launceston and Tamar Valley area.
Visit the University of Tasmania’s School of Social Work webpage for course outlines, information on career opportunities for graduates and student case studies.