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Unsung heroes: who supports social work students on placement?

By Ian Mathews, Diane Simpson, Adrian Croft, Mary Lee and Gillian McKinna


Since the introduction of the three year degree programme in 2003, social work education has undergone a number of significant changes. The time students spend on placement has been increased to two hundred days, and the range of placement opportunities and the way in which these placements have been configured has significantly diversified. A consistent feature over the years, however, has been the presence of a Practice Educator (PE) who has guided, assessed and taught the student whilst on placement. Unsurprisingly, the role of the PE and the pivotal relationship they have with the student has been explored in the past and features in social work literature. \ud \ud This paper, however, concentrates on a range of other relationships which are of significance in providing support to students on placement. In particular it draws on research to discuss the role of the university contact tutor, the place of the wider team in which the student is sited, and the support offered by family, friends and others.\ud \ud Placements and the work undertaken by PE’s will continue to be integral to the delivery of social work education. It is, however, essential to recognise and value the often over looked role of others in providing support to students on placement

Topics: L500 Social Work
Publisher: Whiting & Birch / The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS)
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1921/146066910X518102
OAI identifier:

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