Nael Saoud completed our three-day ABLE brief intervention course earlier this year when he was the Connect Project Worker with Nasc, the migrants and refugee centre. We caught up with him to learn more about his experience of our training and how he has used our ABLE model in practice.
Nael joined Nasc in October 2018 as the Connect Project Worker. Previous to that, he worked with L’Arche community for over six years, supporting vulnerable adults with intellectual disabilities in Damascus, Syria and Cork. Additionally, Nael worked with the Syrian Society for Social Development as a Co-ordinator of Refugee Centre for two years, providing psychosocial support to refugee children and families. Nael graduated from Albaath University Syria with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing & E-commerce and has also received training from the International Medical Corps (IMC) on Child Protection and Psychosocial care for conflict-affected children. He has a keen interest in Social Work and Psychology, with a primary focus on the mental health and well-being of refugee communities and those with intellectual disabilities.
Tell us about your role
As the Project Worker on Connect, I supported young migrants and refugees ranging in age from 14 to 23. This could be assisting them with anything from citizenship to helping them to complete forms or access education. The Connect Project is all about connecting people to services, to additional support and most of all, to communities and people. Meeting vulnerable individuals on a one-to one basis involves a lot of sitting and talking together at the Nasc centre, but most of all, listening. When my supervisor recommended the brief intervention training from Ag Eisteacht, I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about how I could make the most of these interventions to empower clients.
What was your perception of the training before doing the course?
My supervisor had heard lots of great things about the course so she was very encouraging and was able to explain what it entailed. In the past, I had completed a two-month training course in ‘Psychological First Aid’ with the International Medical Corps (IMC). I was surprised that Ag Eisteacht were able to cover so much in three days; probably close to 80% of the IMC course content, so it was far more comprehensive than I had expected.
What are the challenges of your role?
When you work with vulnerable and often distressed people, perhaps those who are in Direct Provision or coping with other immigration issues, you can’t watch the clock. Being flexible and truly there for people when they need you is essential. That can be a challenge at times but it’s the nature of the work we do at Nasc. It’s all about building relationships of trust.
The ABLE model gives practitioners a framework and skills to manage time and boundaries.
It was important for me to learn that, if ever appropriate, it would be possible to suggest a time boundary in a way that wouldn’t hurt or cause offence, while keeping the door open for future conversations.
Which aspect of the ABLE training did you find most interesting?
It was good to be reminded about the importance of listening reflectively. I have used that skill in practice since the training – so much so that it has become natural for me to reflect back to ensure that an individual really knows that I am hearing and understanding what they are saying to me. It’s good to be a good listener.
The self-reflective aspect of the training was also interesting. Wondering how it must be for that person and seeing things from their perspective ultimately helps us all to know ourselves a little better.
If you could sum up your experience of the course, what would you say?
I would highly recommend ABLE brief intervention training from Ag Eisteacht. This course is a life enhancing experience for work, for family and for friends. It gives practical skills we all need every day. Being able to understand other people and support them is not only valuable and beneficial for clients but also enriches practitioners’ own self-awareness and development.
We are now taking bookings for our next ABLE course, which starts in September. Booking can be found here.