Bachelor of Social Work
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Social work is a great career choice for people that are really interested in social justice. People who are interested in creating change, being change agents in their community. It’s a profession for the future really and so if anyone’s interested in social justice, counselling, a whole range of ways or creating change then it’s definitely a career choice that I’d be recommending.
Our Social Work program specializes in online and distance education. So we’ve been doing this for decades, we’re probably once of the first Social Work programs in Australia to develop this mode of delivery and we do that because we’re really committed to regional, rural, remote communities having access to higher education so we’ve developed a significant expertise in how to do that, in a way that’s really engaging.
We use a lot of simulation, we use a lot of technology, we do get together for residential schools to teach face to face. Some courses will have a residential school attached to them so these are usually our skills courses so if you’re learning about your counselling skills, your group work and family work skills. You’ll come to a campus whether that be in Rockhampton where you’ll spend three to five days working with the academic team and your colleagues and you’ll develop the skills that you need to be an effective social worker. Residential schools are really an important part of the degree and one that most people say is their favourite part. You get socialized to the profession, you learn about the values, you learn about the skills. For many students who are located all over Australia this is an opportunity to come together and just focus on what you’re passionate about. What you’re loving doing.
Important for social work practices is being able to communicate effectively, undertake a counselling roles to work effectively with groups and families creating change environments, so at those residential schools you get to actually practice in duos and trios and learn how to, using case studies and simulation, what it would be like in the field to do that. You get feedback from the academic staff so you’re constantly learning and being able to develop in essence confidence to be able to go out and do the work that you’ve signed up to do.
You can expect to if you are studying full-time to attend at least one residential school a term so they’re normally for three days but then just before you undertake your first placement in third year you spend five days at residential really consolidating your skills, preparing your confidence being ready to go into that first placement experience.
Field education is central to social work education. So you would undertake a 1000 hours of placement over the four years so in third year you undertake about 460 hours and then in fourth year the remaining hours for your placement.
So social work is a practice profession so you’ve got your academic learning and then you need to be in the field doing. Students get to do two placement, one usually in a non-government environment and the other in a government setting and that can be where you live. Students are often offered positions after their placement so even in their third year that very first placement, they can be offered positions as a result of the three months that they’ve been working in the environment and then in fourth year we find that most students are offered even locum or permanent positions within those organisations.
There’s an increasing demand for social workers in Australia, in fact in the next three to four years we know there’s nearly a 30% increase in demand for social workers to provide a whole range of services to communities. Their qualification is quite transferrable and portable and in their studies we actually have opportunities for students to experience overseas placement and experience international, global social work issues. So that’s been really something students really love.
The Bachelor of Social Work program is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers so that means that when you’re graduating you’re eligible for membership to that professional association. Many employers nationally require students or graduates to be eligible for membership to that professional association. So this qualification is accredited and it does allow you to be able to have a range of options available to you such as the government, non-government leadership positions and roles and clinical positions.
Well the Academic team are really available. I often speak to students on the phone irrespective of where they are. I have students enrolled internationally and some that are local so being able to communicate with your academic staff helps you feel confident to undertake the study.
Social work to me is an amazing profession, it’s one where you get to be creative, you get to be involved in change processes, whether that’s at the individual level at or at the community level. I really enjoy it because you can never be bored. You can work across industries across sectors. Whether it’s in policy research, direct practice or community development. You can work with young people, children, older people or inside working with structures to create change, so to me it’s a profession that is really future orientated but it’s also something that can draw on a diversity of practice experience.