This unit of study enables students to participate in the second structured and supervised field experience. The broad aim of this unit is to provide 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 Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) guidelines (ASWEAS). The 12 hours of seminars provided at the university assist students with the integration of theory and practice.

Unit details

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Unit code:


288 credit points of core ABSW Bachelor of Social Work (first, second and third year units).

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Enact professional social work values and ethics in practice;  
  2. Appraise the organisation's legal and political context within the human services field and apply this critique in line with anti-discriminatory practice approaches;  
  3. Contextualise the influence of legislation and social policies on social work practice in context and consequent impact on disadvantaged individuals, families and groups;  
  4. Draw on theories and methods of social work practice and critically evaluate their relevance and application within the particular placement context;  
  5. Critically assess, adapt and develop interpersonal and communication skills to work effectively with others;  
  6. Adapt skills and knowledge for direct practice, community development, social research or policy work in the particular placement context and understand how this applies in other social work practice contexts;  
  7. Consult with others to identify, propose and /or plan relevant research and research methods in the context of the placement; and  
  8. Exemplify cultural responsiveness, sensitivity and inclusive practice.  


Students' performance on field placement is assessed in relation to the student's individual placement learning plan based on the AASW Practice Standards, as detailed in the Social Work Field Education Manual.
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/international 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. & Wilson, J. (2018)
Cengage Learning Australia, South Melbourne (ebook)

Social Work Education Field Manual 2020
Victoria University

Access to the Field 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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