We’re glad to have Makani Zulu on the MensCraft team until May, on placement from the UEA School of Social Work where he is studying. Proving himself a great asset to Makani kindly took the time to answer some questions about his background, studies, career aspirations and varied personal interests.


Tell us a bit about where your background, career, and academic path so far?

I was born in Zambia, lived there till I was about 21 when I went to Western Australia to pursue my studies in international business.

I completed my foundation program at Curtin International College then transferred to the UK, where I continued to pursue my business management studies at LIBT/Brunel in West London.

While studying, I undertook paid employment and worked for Compass Group which was a hospitality agency. This was at Barclays Capital in Canary Wharf where I spent three years before going into retail. The more I was trying different things, I realised my skills in sales, advertising, customer relations, team building and marketing were becoming transferable and so my strategy was to maintain my interests and position within the business sector until I could work in Banking.

At the peak of it all, I had my first child, and this shifted my ambitions and led me to start researching into social work.


How did you come to pursue a social work qualification? 

I came to pursue social work because of the social injustices that exist within our society. I felt I could play my part and make a difference in someone’s life by being a voice to permeate through sectors that may be beyond reach to an ordinary person. Also, my wife felt that I could be a perfect fit due to my personal characteristics and so encouraged me to explore into social work when I was thinking of a career change.


How will this placement with MensCraft support you?

I came into MensCraft with little knowledge around what kind of support systems and projects were in place. Being four weeks into the placement, one of the things I have observed is how social workers collaborate with MensCraft when, for example, trying to enrol a father in need of support with parenting skills or behavioural change. This interaction has been insightful in that the process involved between the professionals creates a picture on what social work theories or models to apply in terms of rendering help.

At MensCraft, colleagues work closely and share ideas and solutions to various issues collectively. This style of work has made me realise how each member is of value to the team and upon reflection, reinforced the benefits of (the) group work activities I have been involved in at UEA.

Overall, this has boosted my confidence and colleague feedback on my performance has pushed me in a positive direction of seeking to improve my ways of practice daily.


What skills and qualities are you bringing to your placement with MensCraft?

I feel like I have been able to demonstrate my knowledge around putting theory to practice and drawing from research findings when recommending support to clients that I have engaged with so far. Also, I have and still intend to share resources that can be useful to colleagues relating to some of the common issues that clients face when referred to MensCraft.

In addition, as a member of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at the school of social work at UEA, I strongly align with these values as part of my ethos. Thus, I intend to create awareness on the subject and assist where MensCraft policies on EDI do not reflect within practice.



What are your broader interests outside of studying?

Some of my wider interests include, mountain climbing, skydiving (which is imminent, pending my 40th birthday), playing tennis, swimming (which I am awful at), attending more stand-up comedy events, looking forward to teaching my children how to drive and planning on opening my own school someday.

To sum up, I really wanted to express how grateful I am for the opportunity to be around so many wonderful people, who are so nurturing, patient, engaging and supportive towards my journey. I am excited and still looking forward to a lot more experiences to come while on placement.