In defence of a university social work education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose: The paper identifies the particular characteristics and strengths of mainstream undergraduate and postgraduate University education for social workers.

Design/methodology/approach: A brief summary of the establishment of the honours degree or M level qualification as the requirement for registration as a social worker in England is followed by a summary of the main aspects of 'mainstream' social work courses. The values underpinning a 'student' rather than a 'trainee' route into social work are explored and some limited comparisons made with recently introduces fast-track specialist programmes. Where relevant, the student experience is contrasted with that of fast-track specialist trainees.

Findings: The paper concludes with a discussion of the potential impact on the social work profession and on agencies providing social work services of the cuts over the past few years in the numbers of students on 'generalist' mainstream social work programmes.

Research limitations/implications: This is a conceptual paper. It recognises that more information is available on long-established university programmes than on the more recently available fast-track routes into social work and cites relevant research.

Practical implications: The paper points to the changing balance between numbers entering social work in England via mainstream and fast-track specialist programmes and argues for a fuller debate amongst all stakeholders as to whether this change is in the interest of the profession and those who need social work services.

Originality/value: This is an original paper that draws on the author's experience and the published research and grey literature cited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Children's Services
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2017

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