The Big Question

Do social workers spend enough time with service users before they qualify?

If social workers were able to spend more time with service users while they were training, I think some of them would be more responsive to the needs of clients after they have qualified. All too often qualified social workers just see the user’s primary needs and do what the book says – they don’t always see the individual person with their specific needs.

ANGIE LAWRENCE – Single mother
It is important for students to gain more of a balanced understanding of their job role while they are training. Theories and regulations are important if they are to be objective, but time spent with service users is crucial. How they relate to people will ultimately make all the difference to how they fulfil their responsibilities.

KAREN SHOOK – Disability equality adviser
I know the constraints, but social workers often don’t get to know users properly. I know many users who had expected to have a social worker assigned to them for years, but instead found that they just tackled immediate need and moved on. Things have got worse since I was a social worker back in the early 1990s.

RICHARD WEST – Inspired Services
It is very important that students work with people with learning difficulties as this will show them what it’s like to be at our level, fighting for our rights to services and support, to not be bullied and for equal health services. It also provides a big training opportunity to learn how to plan, write and draw things in an accessible way.

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