Social care leaders have given their backing to Student Zone, a Community Care initiative to support the next generation of frontline social workers.
Student Zone, a website to help social work degree students and others on social care courses become fully fledged members of the profession, was launched this week. It brings together all the information social work degree students will need to get the most out of their courses and find a job at the end of it. With sections on placements, resources, essay-writing and social work careers, Student Zone offers commentary from social care experts and draws from the experience of current social work students. And it provides a home for the growing number of social work students who have been gathering on Community Care‘s online forum, CareSpace, to seek advice, swap tips and offer mutual support.
Corinne May-Chahal (right), interim co-chair of the College of Social Work, who has contributed to the zone (see p30), said it was vital students were aware of new developments and included in debate about the profession. “Community Care’s Student Zone offers student social workers a dedicated place for debate, expert advice and mutual support,” she said.
Graham Ixer, head of social work education at the General Social Care Council, said it was crucial that students could share experiences and develop a common identity.
Trade union Unison is also supporting the site. National officer for social work Helga Pile (right) said: “There is a desperate shortage of social workers so Unison wants to make sure students are properly supported through college and into the workplace.”
Community Care’s community editor, Simeon Brody, who developed the site, said the future of the social work profession could only be guaranteed with the help of existing practitioners. “Students really benefit from the wisdom and experience of qualified social workers. Whether it’s during their work placements or on the CareSpace forums, experienced workers need to interact with students and offer their advice.”
For more information about Student Zone e-mail Simeon Brody
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Why is Student Zone important?
“There is a desperate shortage of social workers so Unison wants to make sure students are properly supported through college and into the workplace. Student Zone will give students access to invaluable tools and information, and a great professional network.”
Helga Pile, national officer for social work, Unison
“Our association fully supports any initiative that encourages people into social work, and values them once they have started their studies.”
Richard Jones, president, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
“Today’s social work students are tomorrow’s social workers. It is essential that they are aware of developments and included in any debate about the profession and challenges that it faces. Student Zone offers student social workers a dedicated place for debate, expert advice and support.”
Corinne May-Chahal, interim co-chair, College of Social Work
“It is crucial that those embarking on such a challenging and diverse career can share their experiences and learning, and develop a common professional identity at an early stage. We are encouraged to see a supportive resource such as Student Zone, which helps to inform, develop and bring together the next generation of social workers.”
Graham Ixer, head of social work education, General Social Care Council
“As the social workers of the future students need easy access to the right information from an early stage. Student Zone provides them with the support they need, including information on placements, essay writing and social work careers.”
Julie Jones, chief executive, Social Care Institute for Excellence