Graduate Profile

Soraya Te Iringa

Soraya Te Iringa - Social Services

Social Services

Soraya Te Iringa finished her Degree in Social Services and stepped straight into work that she loves. “I work with an agency of social change and it’s really rewarding seeing personal progress and positive outcomes.”

Soraya’s job came directly from the practicum required in her course. “We do practicum in our second and third years, and the NorthTec tutors do a great job at matching us up with work that is a fit for us. I got to know the agency I was working for and built my confidence and other connected agency contacts in that time. I got my job on the strength of that. It was great because it meant I could stay in Whangarei.”

Soraya says that her job is to see that the people she works with have a plan in place, that they are informed, that they know what services are available, and that they know their rights. “We are a community based support service and I love making a difference in the lives of the people I work with. I give them the information they need to make informed choices and if there is a need, we meet it together. I support their choices and I promote change. This empowers them to put their choices into action.”

Soraya started her own journey of change when she enrolled for the social services degree. “I was working fulltime but my job was finishing. I had the skills but not the qualifications and I hadn’t studied since school, therefore it wasn’t easy at NorthTec at first. I was a working Mum with two kids at pre-school, so I did my first year part time and took four years to complete my degree. The accessibility and flexibility of NorthTec made this study possible for me.”

Soraya is thankful for the support of the tutors. “They were so approachable. They wanted us to pass and they gave us the best support. The library was also a big part of that support for me. We learnt how to reference and look for the information we needed specific to the papers we were studying. I majored in social work.”

Now that Soraya is out in the social services work world, she values fundamental reminders that were emphasized in her study. “We learnt the importance of self-care, of supervision (someone to unload to), and of keeping ourselves safe in order to be effective. These are hugely valuable practices when working in this environment. We all keep reminding ourselves to have interests outside of our work, to switch off, and to eat and sleep properly. They are basics – but essential.”

Soraya is keen to continue with the work she does now and is curious as to how her future career will unfold. “Completing my Bachelor in Social Services has given me opportunities and choices that I never would have had. I now have confidence and I have skills. I’m keen to keep on learning and developing, even if my role here changes. I am now able to access anything I want to know, so I can make a difference for myself.”

Soraya says that something she often says to her clients, is a useful reminder to anyone going through change in life. “Believe in yourself. Sometimes you may take a step backward, but then you will step forward again and progress - always. Believe in yourself. Give it a try.”

Read more about NorthTec's Social Services programme

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