Social Work Education as Preparation for Practice: Evidence from a Survey of the New South Wales Community Sector

Natasha Cortis*, Gabrielle Meagher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social work faces increasing competition from other postschool qualifications, which offer pathways into social and community services in Australia. This has prompted debate about what kinds of qualifications should be required in the sector, and about the relationship between social work and other educational programs. This article presents new empirical evidence about social work compared with other human service qualifications as preparation for practice. Based on data from a large survey of nongovernment sector workers in New South Wales (n = 661), multivariate analysis indicated that any level of qualification in a human service field improved employee self-ratings of preparedness. However, having a Bachelor level degree or higher in social work had the greatest effect, improving preparedness more than any other individual, job, or organisational characteristic. The findings renew support for social work as the key foundation for practice roles in the nongovernment sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-310
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Social Work
Volume65
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

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