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Spotlight on Social Work placements

Placements are a core part of the training on our Social Work BSc(Hons). During the three years of the course students spend 170 days gaining hands-on experience ensuring they meet the Social Work’s Professional Capabilities Framework.

Some of our current students tell us a bit about their placement experiences.

Anita – final year student

Active Prospect logoAnita is in her final year of the course and spent her second-year placement with Active Prospect, an organisation that provides care and support for people with learning disability, autism, acquired brain injury, mental health needs and those with complex needs and behavioural concerns to live full and aspiring lives.

Her final year placement was with Surrey Children’s Service Assessment Team:

“A typical day in the assessment team varies but it includes an initial visit to a child and family after case allocation and direct work with a child or family.

“Also, reviewing of case files, consulting with relevant agencies, chasing information from other professionals (agency checks), report writing and administrative meetings. It is a busy environment and many opportunities to learn.

“The placement gave the opportunity to work directly with service users and their families from diverse backgrounds. Also working with other professionals such as doctors, nurses and designated safeguard leads (DSLs). I took part in team meetings and worked alongside other social workers to consolidate my learning.

“The University provided the required support and facilitated the whole process. They were at hand to assist and support with any concerns and these were readily resolved.”

Allegra – second year student

Allegra is in her second year of the course:

“I am currently in my second year and my first placement with a voluntary organisation that provides help for women, children and families affected by drugs and alcohol.

“I am now currently managing my own caseload of clients and conducting 1-1 support sessions with them. I have also had the opportunity to help facilitate groups, complete initial assessments and develop support plans and treatment outcome profiles.

“Although the work can be quite emotionally charged, the University offer a network of support around you which is invaluable. We have regular check-ins with our academic tutors to discuss any questions or issues that may arise over the course of the year.

“This course has tested me in more ways that I thought it would, but it has also been the most rewarding few years of my life. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in studying Social Work – It has been a great experience so far for me!”

Declan – final year student

Declan spent the final year placement in a fostering team working as a supervising Social Worker:

“As part of my placement, I was assigned to three foster carers. Working with foster carers on a long-term basis ensuring statutory checks and visits are carried out. This would involve monthly foster carer supervision meetings, ensuring the well-being and needs of the child is placement is being met by carers. Providing guidance, support and a reflective space for foster carers to consider their approach to fostering. Health and safety, household reviews and unannounced would be carried out annually to ensure foster carers are meeting Fostering Minimum standards for Local Authority carers.

“While on placement I was able to shadow a C&F assessment and Intervention team, co-working and working with children and their families. Planning and delivering suitable direct work to gain the views of younger children, following safeguarding concerns.

“Working with real people with a range of complex individual and societal challenges has opened my eyes to the reality of social work. Allowing me to apply social work knowledge developed in year 1 and 2 into practice. When in a placement setting you see first-hand how different social work teams and professionals operate.

“Placement from my perspective has supported my understanding of myself. Through reflection of new challenges and experiences a social work placement allows you to consider your own professional identity. Reflecting on what your areas of strengths look like and what would you like to improve upon.

“I found tutor groups a safe space to share experiences with peers and friends. Both my university tutors were always available to listen and share concerns and worries about placement. University tutors have provided me honest feedback and perspectives to my own social work practice. Which at times can be difficult in a placement setting.

“Social work placements are challenging and frustrating at times. Managing university assignments alongside placement is difficult. However, both of my placements have bettered my understanding of the challenges faced across the lifespan. Opening my eyes to different perspectives.

Alice – second year student

Alice’s second year placement was spent with Grace Eyre, working with adults with learning disabilities:

Grace Eyre logoDue to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have mostly been working from home. My day is quite varied, usually the morning will start with a team meeting and checking in on how everyone is doing, later, I may shadow a member of the team on a meeting with a service user and carer. I have also been involved in several projects, one with the housing team working to prevent Matescrime – which is when vulnerable individuals can be taken advantage of by people they think as their friends.

“I have been able to do my first home visit, which was nerve racking but very interesting! I have written risk assessments and care plans and developed a new support plan for carers and service users within Grace Eyre. Although virtually, I have been able to meet with service users and gain insight into their experience with Grace Eyre. In addition, I have also been able to go into the day centre and organise socially distanced games and activities for adults with learning disabilities.

“This was a great experience; I really enjoyed meeting with people and seeing how I can make a difference.

“We had many lectures and seminars in the run up to placement with study materials online which we could go back and refer to later if we needed. I felt very prepared going on to placement and supported by the uni.”

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