Study points to student skills gap

Social work students have fundamental flaws in their knowledge and
understanding of basic social work skills, a new study has

Researchers have found there is an “urgent” need for social work
students undertaking the two-year DipSW course to have a “deeper
grounding in social work theory, research and their application in

Questionnaires reveal shortfalls in students’ understanding of the
causes and nature of social problems, theories and methods of
interventions, areas of critical analysis, monitoring and
evaluation, therapeutic methods, and specific case studies.

The researchers called the findings “seriously concerning”, and
said students lacked confidence in assessment, objective-setting,
monitoring and evaluation.

The findings, the result of interviews with 234 carers, service
users, social workers and students in 26 focus groups last year,
have been used to shape the content of the new three-year social
work degree, due to begin in September 2003.

The research also highlighted the need for more practice-based
training, with the new degree curriculum raising the number of days
in practice from 70 to 200.

– Research summaries can be found at

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