Social Work News 2019 Social Work Student Placement Survey Results

The results of our Social Work (SW) Students Placement Survey 2018/19 are now available and are overwhelmingly positive both about the overall experience and about how the specific support provided by Practice Educators has been beneficial in building confidence and skills.

Responses were received from 77 students from the Universities of York and Huddersfield, across the four degree courses. The majority were on placement with either Calderdale or Kirklees Council. Just over half of respondents were placed with Adult Services, the remaining 45% with Children and Family Services. Of all respondents:

  • 85% rated their induction as “good” or “very good”

“The induction period for placement was well planned, I felt like I really had the opportunity to ask questions and felt supported throughout.”

  • 87% found the student support groups/supervision sessions “good” or “very good”

“Thoroughly thought about. Well presented. Very interactive. Very informative. PECs have taught us a range of things.”

  • When asked about the overall learning experience provided by the placement, over 90% of respondents rated the placements as good or very good in terms of
    • Development of skills and knowledge base
    • Integration of theory and practice
    • Enabling critical reflection
    • Increased confidence to become a social worker
  • “This placement has been fantastic. I cannot think of any limitations I have experienced and found my learning opportunities to be above expectation.”

“ My PE was always there to support me in understanding and applying different theories and laws and legislations in relation to my allocated cases.”

  • However, 10% of respondents were neutral when asked if the placement prepared them for becoming a Newly Qualified SW and also whether the placement agreement prepared them for final placement.
  • Of those who had a work based supervisor, 77% rated the support provided “good” or “very good”. 23% rated this satisfactory.
  • 96% rated the support from their Practice Educator as “good” or “very good”. When asked about specific types of support such as providing reflective supervision, challenge and feedback responses were consistently positive.

“Throughout my placement my practice educator has provided a fantastic level of support and has had a genuine passion for my development”.

“She altered the support throughout placement as I got more confident and this worked really well and I still felt supported.”

  • 23% also received support from the PEC/SW Learning and Development Team and this support was highly valued.
  • When asked what single thing made the placement work well, “supportive team” and “good relationship with practice educator” were the most common themes.
  • Examples of what could be done to improve the placement for future students, comments were varied and included :

“I’d like to be mentored more by my work based supervisor at the start.”

“Undertaking an integrated placement may have been easier if this was done in blocks rather than three days with one placement and two days with the other”.

  • Of all respondents, 93% rated the overall placement experience as “good” or “very good”. 73% felt confident or very confident about obtaining their first SW job. 85% would apply for a job with the placement organisation. Of those who would not , reasons cited included the distance from home or lack of permanent positions available.

“I’ve really grown in confidence and I feel more ready for practice.”

  • 94% would recommend a placement in the same team to another student, though there were challenges.

“the palliative care team has been fantastic, it is such a unique area of practice and I feel blessed to have had a placement with this team”.

“I would recommend, however it is a very fast paced environment”.

“I have found this to be an extremely challenging placement and i feel i would have struggled to meet the demand if this was my first practice placement”.