Ready or Not: Workplace Perspectives on Work-readiness Indicators in Social Work Graduates


  • Amanda Howard University of Newcastle
  • Lou Johnston University of Newcastle
  • Kylie Agllias University of Newcastle


Work-integrated learning, Social work graduates, Work-readiness indicators, Capabilities, Preparation for practice, Social work education


Social work graduates should have a range of capabilities they can integrate and adapt to different contexts and practice situations. Defining work-readiness indicators can guide the development, support, and assessment of students and new graduates. This pilot qualitative study was conducted with social workers in Australia in 2011. Researchers conducted 13 semi-structured interviews to explore what employers, supervisors and colleagues of social work graduates deemed indicators of work readiness. Four themes emerged: (i) reflective practice; (ii) understanding of and ability to enact a social work role; (iii) interpersonal communication and relationships; and (iv) organisational practice. These findings suggest social work education should maintain focus on critical thinking, reflective learning, theory–practice integration, and teamwork, and extend work-integrated learning beyond placements.

Author Biographies

Amanda Howard, University of Newcastle

School Humanities and Social Science

Lou Johnston, University of Newcastle

School Humanities and Social Science

Kylie Agllias, University of Newcastle

School Humanities and Social Science


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