Gareth social work placementsSocial Work

Placements are an important part of your experience helping you to gain insight into the variety of employment opportunities open to you at the end of your course, as well as developing those all-important skills required by employers. You might feel excited but also wonder what it’s really like so you might be interested to hear from a student currently studying the Social Work degree who has shared their experience.

Gareth's experience

What is your favourite placement memory?

I managed to engage with a very defensive adolescent who previously shunned professional visits. This adolescent later thanked me for my help and told me they had applied to return to college and they wanted to study health and social care.

What is the funniest thing that happened on your placement?

I have been lucky enough to have been places amongst a team who have both personality and patter in abundance. Generally each day contains laughter.

Have you ever cried on placement (for good or bad)?

No tears as yet... However, there have been many emotional moments through the work I have done with vulnerable young people.

What was your biggest challenge on placement?

The biggest challenge on my placement is working with other professionals, navigating and challenging their preconceptions about a student role. It is also not rare to wait a week for an e-mail or telephone reply from a busy social worker…

What did you expect before you went on placement?

I had few expectations going into the placement as I was informed of where it would be a couple of weeks before the placement began. Having said that I had feelings of excitement and nerves in equal measure.

What did you learn about yourself on placement? 

I have learned to be true to myself. I have found that young people see through any type of acting, even if it is meant to show a professional attitude. I have discovered that professionalism is not so much how you sit, speak and dress, but mostly how you interact and perform.

Did you feel prepared for placement? 

My placement ended up being quite short notice so to be honest I didn’t feel prepared! However, once in the role, I realised that the previous year of studies had prepared me excellently.

How were you supported on placement? 

I have had support from the staff at the placement itself, University staff and a social WhatsApp group of my peers.

How have your experiences on placement changed you? 

My placement has not changed me as much as it has redirected me. I have found new focus for my future and my training.

Did you build any special relationships on placement?

I have built bonds on placement and I will genuinely miss the staff there. I have valued the time spent with the young people too and they have all left an impact on me.