An area of development within Families Outside has been in Social Work Practice Learning.
In August 2019, we appointed a Practice Learning Coordinator, who is working with Universities across Scotland to provide practice learning placements for social work students within all three of our regional teams. The Practice Learning Coordinator also has practice teaching responsibilities for some placements.
Our East Team has been providing placements since January 2019. The West Team had its first student placement start in January 2020, and we are delighted that this month will see our North Team host its first placement.
Placements in all three teams offer students a mix of learning opportunities. In the East, the focus is Helpline and family support work. North and West placements offer opportunities in group work and family support.
Feedback from Families Outside staff and the families we work with has been really positive about their experiences of having students work with them. Family members have found that students are able to work with them intensively and help them address the challenges they face.
Many families have had negative experiences with statutory services and have reported that working with student social workers has been a positive experience. They have also enjoyed giving feedback on how the student has interacted with them and appreciated being able to input into the training of future social workers.
Families Outside staff have said that having students challenges them to reflect critically on their own practice. Students can come with fresh ideas and approaches, and this has been shared with staff, which has been useful for ongoing development.
Students have found that their placement with us provides great learning opportunities and have found the teams and environment to be highly supportive. One student summed her experience up:
“The agency ethos sits firmly within social work values, making it a great placement with numerous, diverse learning opportunities.”
To find out more about our Student Placements and the Practice Learning opportunities within Families Outside, please contact us.