Pre-placement Skills for Social Work Students


  • Liz McCafferty University of Otago
  • Kathryn Hay Massey University


Field education, Skills, Social work education, Students


Social work skills are a key component in the social work education curriculum yet there is little agreement in the literature on which skills should be acquired prior to placement. In an effort to address this gap, this article will outline the results of a qualitative research project wherein semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight field educators in a South Island region of New Zealand. The findings of this research identified categories of skills that are important for students prior to placement. These skills include communication, self- reflection, critical thinking, social work process, application of theory, and cultural practice. Ensuring the alignment of apposite skill development between regulatory bodies, social work academics and field educators is important for the effectiveness of social work education.


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