Innovations in Field Placement for International Social Work Students: Forging University Partnership with Community Sector in Elderly Care


  • Kalpana Goel University of South Australia
  • Vanessa Leane University of South Australia
  • Patricia Muncey University of South Australia


Field placement, Social work, International students, Older people, Community-based organisations


Australian social work schools face a challenge to find appropriate placements for the increasing number of international students enrolled in their Master of Social Work Qualifying (MSWQ) programs.

An innovative and unique placement for international students enrolled in the MSWQ at the University of South Australia was organised in partnership with a community-based service working with older clients to meet two objectives: increasing the number of suitable placements for international students; and enhancing both the competency skills and motivation of social work students to work with older people.

Upon completion of placement, students were asked to complete an on-line survey utilising both quantitive and qualitative measures. The article reports on changes in students’ insights, knowledge and skills gain, their perception of older people, willingness to work with older people and the challenges students faced on their placement. Strategies for enhancing students’ experiences on placement and developing and strengthening partnerships with community-based organisations are discussed.

Author Biographies

Kalpana Goel, University of South Australia

Lecturer, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy

Vanessa Leane, University of South Australia

PhD Scholar, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy

Patricia Muncey, University of South Australia

Lecturer, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy


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