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Are Non-Traditional Social Work Placements Second-Best Learning Opportunities for Social Work Qualifying Students?

McLaughlin, H and Scholar, H and McCaughan, S and Coleman, A (2014) Are Non-Traditional Social Work Placements Second-Best Learning Opportunities for Social Work Qualifying Students? British Journal of Social Work, 45. ISSN 0045-3102

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Abstract

This article reports on the evaluation of practice learning opportunities for student social workers within ‘non-traditional’ placements provided by a major children’s charity in England, Scotland andWales between 2010 and 2012. The student social workers undertook a well-being role within the project and the research here reports on the charity’s ability to provide a twelve-week programme through the use of delivery partners. In particular, the research highlights the experiences and perspectives of student social workers, project leadersand Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to meet the six key roles, anddemonstrate working with the legal framework, risk awareness, and management and assessment skills. The article also considers how the developments in England will impact upon such placements in the future and their implications for the project. Lastly, the article suggests that these placements are not second best, but different and raises the more fundamental question as to whether it is becoming easier to practise social work in placements such as these as opposed to those in statutory social service placements.

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