Spotlight on Ben Van Der Heiden - Community Correctional Officer
When did you join Correctional Services? I started with a student placement in early 2017, and upon concluding it in mid-2017 was offered a temporary contract in case management as a community corrections officer.
What did you study? Bachelor of So cial Work, University of South Australia. I am currently undergoing my fourth and final year of the degree.
Can you tell us a little bit about your career with corrections so far and why you decided to join corrections? I have been involved with Community Corrections for nearly a year now, moving offices a couple of times. I decided to join Corrections because as a social worker I was very interested in the sociology behind male offending, particular domestic violence offending.
What have you enjoyed most about your time with Correctional Services so far? I didn’t expect to enjoy Outreach supervision as much as I found I actually did. Rural social work has never really appealed to me however I found I quite enjoyed going on long road trips out to the Mid-North, and the change of pace conducting supervision with the generally more isolated, less frequently seen rural offender cohort.
What you think makes corrections a great place to work? From a social worker’s perspective, Community Corrections provides a great opportunity to play an important role in challenging your clients to enact serious change in their lives, in ways more conventional social work roles don’t often address.
Any advice for those thinking about a career with corrections? Student placement was an incredibly valuable opportunity to learn on the job within a safety net. Other social workers within the department have mentioned to me how little they knew about Community Correctional Officers’ somewhat unique working role in the social work field. Uni will not teach you how to handle reluctant, resentful, or absent clients like working in Corrections will. While I was given many opportunities to learn, I would advise anyone else on placement to seek out more opportunities, both within their role and beyond it. It also provides an opportunity to see things beyond your immediate job and how all the processes and roles fit together.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? In my spare time I walk my dog Mac, play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons, and pretend to do well at uni assignments.