This unit enables students to participate in a structured and supervised field education placement and the broad aim is to provide third-year students with the opportunity to extend their knowledge and experience in linking theory with the realities of practice and extend their skills for social work practice. A variety of social work and related rural and urban agencies are utilised. The field education co-ordinator is responsible for the selection and arrangement of placements according to the Australian Association of Social Workers (ASWEAS) guidelines. The field education program is overseen by the Academic Leader, Field Education. The seminars provided at the university assist students with the integration of theory and practice.

Unit details

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192 credit points of Core ABSW units (first and second year units).

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Enact social work values and ethics in practice;  
  2. Appraise the placement organisation's legal and political context within the human services field;  
  3. Analyse how legislation and social policies influence practice in the field placement context;  
  4. Articulate the theories and methods relevant to practice and reflect critically upon their use and application;  
  5. Exemplify the interpersonal and communication skills required to communicate and work effectively with others;  
  6. Critically reflect on practice in field placement and in professional supervision;  
  7. Exhibit and apply a range of specific social work assessment, intervention and referral skills and knowledge appropriate to the particular placement context;  
  8. Locate and critically analyse research knowledge, methods and application appropriate to social work practice and field placement setting; and  
  9. Exemplify culturally sensitive and responsive practice in the placement context.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Exercise Learning plan Pass/Fail
Practicum Mid placement assessment Pass/Fail
Practicum Final placement assessment Pass/Fail
Students are required to attend 500 hours of supervised field education, which includes 12 hours of attendance and participation in theory-practice integration seminars. In addition, 10 hours of attendance in a pre-placement two-day intensive is required. This requirement is in accord with the Australian Social Work Education Accreditation Standards and the Victoria University Assessment for Learning- Standards for Assessment Procedure. In the event of illness, students are required to make up missed placement hours. Where circumstances exist so that a student cannot attend in person (e.g. rural/regional placement), engagement in the pre-placement intensive and integration seminars will be by negotiation with the Unit Convenor.

Required reading

Making the most of field placement 4th ed.
Cleak, H.M. & Wilson, J. (2018)
Cengage Learning Australia, South Melbourne (ebook)

Social Work Education Field Manual 2020
Victoria University

Access to the Field Education Manual will be provided on the VU Collaborate site for this unit. The following texts are Recommended Reading only: Gardner, F. (2014) Being Critically Reflective: Engaging in Holistic Practice. Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke. Gardner, F., Theobald, J., Long, N. & Hickson, H. (2018) Field Education: Creating successful placements, Oxford University Press, Australia.

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