Turning Point educational internship leads to jobs for three new NAMHSU research assistants.

29 Mar 2023

Turning Point offers educational internships that provide opportunities for students to gain foundational skills and knowledge in the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sector.

Turning Point Internships

Last year Tom, Krista and Constance all completed an educational internship and are now working as part-time research assistants for Turning Point’s National Addiction and Mental Health Surveillance Unit (NAMHSU) while completing their studies. We talk to all three to find out about their experiences during their internship and how they find working at Turning Point.

Learning more about addiction

Even before starting her science and biomedical science degree at Monash University, Krista had always been interested in learning about addiction.

“I didn’t know that much AOD prior to starting, but the internship program is very thorough in exposing you to different aspects of the AOD sector,” said Krista.

“We were introduced to the different services at Turning Point, including clinical, Telephone and Online Services (TOLS) and research.”

While completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at Deakin University, Constance had taken some classes which touched on AOD, however the program at Turning Point provided her with more insights.

“I am really interested in the crossover between AOD and other areas like psychological services, social services, housing, families and domestic violence. It is such an important factor in so many disciplines in psychology,” Constance said.

“Doing the internship opened my mind even more to the complexities of the different niches working in the AOD services.”

Tom was first introduced to harm reduction when he started working at a bar. This combined with his psychology studies is what motivated him to apply for the internship.

“I felt like there was a lot of overlap between the AOD sector, psychology and hospitality work. Doing the internship gave me an overview of the AOD sector from a different perspective, and it piqued my interest even more.

Getting both educational and practical exposure.

As part of the internship, students complete 150 hours of work that includes a combination of skills training and real-world clinical observation.

“The thing that stuck with me was getting to meet with researchers and academics and talk with them about their research and how they got into it. This was a great experience and made me think this is something I could do in the future,” Tom said.

“We got to talk to all the different teams within Turning Point and visit places like Wellington House. It was great to see the work they are doing.,” Krista said.

The interns also completed two VET units of competency in the AOD field to help improve their knowledge and skills in the area.

“Doing the two units is a great aspect of the internship because it gives you a head start if you do want to pursue a career in the sector. It also gave us more in-depth knowledge,” Constance said.

Working as Research Assistants

After completing their internships all three students pursued jobs in the NAMHSU team as research assistants.

“NAMHSU were one of the teams that spoke with us and the work they did sounded really interesting. After finishing my internship, I emailed my team lead to get involved which got the ball rolling,” Constance said.

“I felt as though my values and interests align with the work Turning Point does. I also thought working here while finishing my studies would create a more sustainable lifestyle,” Tom said.

All three students are currently working as coders for the ambulance project which looks at data in relation to ambulance attendances where drugs and alcohol are involved as well as violence and mental health presentations.

As well as gaining coding experience, working at Turning Point has provided other opportunities.

Since starting here Krista has been trained in SMART recovery which means she can now facilitate peer support groups.

“Working at Turning Point has been great because I have been able to upskill my professional development whilst also gaining clinical and research experience,” Krista said.

Want to work at Turning Point? We currently have several amazing opportunities which you can view here.