in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, all social work student placements were suspended in March 2020
Since then work has been underway through the Social Work Education Partnership, to support employers, Universities and students to safely resume and commence placements. This activity has included:
The provision of online resources and guidance for practice educators and link workers
The provision of a Resumption of Placement Fee of £300 per student to provide financial support to employers as a contribution towards any additional costs incurred in accommodating a placement
The expansion of the NHS Scotland and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme 2020 to cover social work student placements.
Many third sector organisations are already providers of placements for social work students that offer rich learning opportunities to work across a diverse range of settings. We are reaching out to third sector organisations across Scotland, those who have previously offered placements and those who have not, to consider providing placements at this crucial juncture.
The Scottish Government is working closely with Higher Education Institutions, the Scottish Social Services Council, Employers and placement providers to ensure that there are enough high quality placements available for students, particularly students looking to undertake their final placement. This is vital to ensure that those students due to complete their courses in Summer 2021 are able to qualify and enter the workforce.
Placements are a vital part of the Social Work qualifying degree, where students have the opportunity to apply their academic learning in a practice setting. They also provide mutually beneficial learning environments for both the student and the placement agency. Students are required by the SSSC to complete a minimum number of days in practice prior to qualification, and do so in two or three placements across their degree programme, depending on the University. These placements run for 70-120 days (14-24 weeks) during which the student is part of the placement agency, undertakes allocated work and supports service users. Many agencies have qualified practice educators who support and assess the student 'in house' and others provide an agency based link worker who works with an independent practice educator, who is based off-site.