Social Work Placement Supervision: A Snapshot of Student Experiences



Field education, Placements, Social work supervision, Student supervision, Social work education, Students, Observation


Supervision is an essential contributor to student learning in social work field education. There has been little exploration to assess the adequacy of supervision during placement in Australia. This paper reports on an online survey undertaken by 284 students who had completed a social work placement in Queensland. The survey explored students’ experience of supervision in placements with on-site and off-site supervision, the duration and quality of the supervision sessions and the supervisory relationship as well as how the supervision contributed to their professional growth as social workers.

The findings highlight that, while the majority of students valued the supervisory relationship and the quality of supervision they received, only just over half of the students on placement received the required amount of supervision by a qualified supervisor or were able to be observed by their supervisor as per ASWEAS requirements. 

Author Biographies

Ines Zuchowski, James Cook University

Social Work and Human Services, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Helen Cleak , La Trobe University

Adjunct Associate Professor, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Mark Cleaver, The University of Queensland

School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


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