Former police officer inspired to study social work - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Former police officer inspired to study social work

14 Sep 2021

As a former police officer and army soldier, USC Social Work student Michelle Minchin has helped people during some of their lowest times – including when they’ve been impacted by domestic violence or suicide.

Now Mrs Minchin is consolidating her insights and skills gained from her varied life experiences – which also include mother, author and coal mine truck operator – by embarking on a new career as a social worker.

“These roles have given me empathy, perseverance and grit as well as a window into how others live to see what is really happening in society,” said Mrs Minchin, who began a Bachelor of Social Work at USC’s Fraser Coast campus this year.

“These are beneficial skills for dealing with those who need support and reassurance, and to help them develop their own capacity to live their best lives.”

Motivated by her desire to help others, Mrs Minchin has already drawn on her knowledge and experiences by contributing to a new book, Forever Changed by Suicide, a chapter that explores the confronting issue of suicide from the perspective of a police officer.

“I am also putting together a book with other authors about domestic violence because this seems to be a subject that is not properly talked about,” she said.

“People need help, and they need it now. The rates of domestic violence have soared since COVID-19 restrictions and enforced isolations have been incurred.” 

When her own business and professional life was impacted by the pandemic, Ms Minchin – who has diplomas in writing and counselling and a Master of Leadership and Management (Policing) – decided it was time to gain further qualifications as a pathway to a new career.

“My own recent challenges led to me to consider what would make my heart sing,” she said. “I had recently relocated to the Fraser Coast, and when I heard about USC’s Bachelor of Social Work being offered at the local campus, I knew this would fit the bill perfectly,” she said.

“I am a people person and when I complete this degree, I intend that my scope of practice will be in areas that focus primarily on providing crucial support and counselling to those affected by family and domestic violence and suicide.” 

More information about studying Social Work or other USC program is available here or by visiting USC’s online Open Day.

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