Educating the new practitioner: The building of professional identities in European social work
Campanini, A., Frost, L. and Staffan, Höjer (2012) Educating the new practitioner: The building of professional identities in European social work. Social Work Review, 2012 (1). pp. 33-47. ISSN 1583-0608
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This article sets out to consider the tentative findings that have emerged from a comparative pilot study of the value given to their social work education by newly qualified social workers in England, Sweden and Italy. The overall aim of the research was to examine the subjective views of students from 3 contrasting welfare systems and three different degree programmes as to their preparedness for practice. The specific aim of this paper is to describe and analyse if and how a sense of professional identity is being developed and if perceptions of this differ between students coming from different welfare regimes. The project recorded and analysed the students’ views on the cusp of starting their professional lives, and after 1 year of undertaking social work occupations. Further aims were to examine the role of theory teaching, placement opportunities, personal/professional ‘growth’ and evaluative capacity in making these students ‘fit for practice’ in specific welfare systems. The paper contextualises the research with discussion of the contemporary literature of professional identity in social work in Europe.