There’s no better way to prepare yourself for a career in social work than with practical industry experience. At Flinders, students complete 1000 hours of placement when completing either their Bachelor or Master of Social Work degrees. This means our students complete more than 133 days of placement before entering the workforce, giving them the confidence to succeed. Students are given the opportunity to implement knowledge and skills acquired in their degrees and begin to create professional connections in the industry. With plenty of support from Flinders before, during and after placement, students are given the tools to kick start their careers before they finish their degree.
Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) student Kara has been on placement at the Department for Child Protection, working with children and families who are involved in long term guardianship. She’s been working with her supervisor in case management practice with children and young people, working together with services, support networks and carers, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children or young people involved.
Having the opportunity to work with likeminded people has solidified Kara’s enthusiasm for entering the social work industry.
“On placement, I enjoy being able to work with many other social work practitioners, who share the same passion for social justice and helping others as I do”, says Kara. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do a placement in a government setting that uses social work practice to provide children and young people in South Australia, with a safe and supportive environment.”
Kara has taken the opportunity to put her knowledge from the classroom into practice, regularly finding herself implementing Social Work skills and theories during her placement.
“This placement experience has allowed me to reflect upon many aspects of the degree, including theoretical concepts and practice simulations, which provided us with communication and case note writing skills”, says Kara. “In Child Protection practice specifically, theories such as attachment, development and trauma-informed approaches have been applied and are embedded within the structure of the Department for Child Protection.”
The placement has also given Kara further knowledge of the child protection system and its legislation, allowing her to experience how these things impact practising as a social worker.
“Before this placement, I had little knowledge of the Child Protection system within South Australia”, says Kara. “Understanding the system supports many other social work practice contexts that interact with child protection, such as health, education, and mental health.”
When asked what advice Kara would give to Social Work students commencing a placement, she encourages students to enjoy the experience and stay on top of their self-care.
“Enjoy it, try to take in as much information as possible,” says Kara. “Also, make sure to use your self-care strategies, we might be used to hearing about the importance of self-care in our degree, but it does make a difference when you’re out on the field and balancing study, your personal life and placement.”
Want to learn more about studying Social Work at Flinders? Click here to learn about our Social Work degrees.