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About this book

This engaging and accessible introduction to social work encourages reflective learning in preparation for practice. Direct linking of key concepts to professional standards ensures that students are able to build up an understanding through context and reflective points, and with an emphasis on diversity, ideology, and preparing for practice, students will benefit from both practical and theoretical guidance. Sections are designed to work as both integrated and standalone resources and the flexible methodology will support a range of courses and learning techniques.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Abstract
In reading this book, you will already have decided that social work is of interest to you as a career and profession; or you may be engaged within an undergraduate or postgraduate social work course. In writing this book, we hope to provide for you a foundation in social work education and professional practice. Students and practitioners often feel that social work can only be learned from direct practice, through working within a front-line social work service. There is a kernel of truth in this position. However, social work requires more than just doing; it is more than a technical activity. We as social workers operate in a complex environment, with challenging social presentations.
Darren Hill, Lorraine Agu, David Mercer

2. 1 The historical development of social work: Making links from the past to the present

Abstract
In this chapter, we will examine the role of social work within our society, and locate the historical development of social work within broader social, political and economic frameworks. The role of social work as a professional activity can be considered as contingent on the overarching historical, political and economic periods it is located within, and it is from this perspective that we will explore the historical development of social work within the UK.
Darren Hill, Lorraine Agu, David Mercer

3. 2 The contemporary role of social work: Working with communities and complexity

Abstract
In this chapter we will build on some of the themes in Chapter 2 to explore and locate the contemporary role of social work within the UK and its contemporary situation within diverse agencies and multidisciplinary teams. Through a careful exploration of social work agency and institutional models, the reader will build an awareness of the delivery and practical context of contemporary social work practice against a backdrop of austerity and increasing diversification and marketisation within the health and social care sectors.
Darren Hill, Lorraine Agu, David Mercer

4. 3 Preparing for social work practice: Models of intervention for social work practice

Abstract
In the first two chapters we have seen how the role of social workers has developed over time. This chapter is concerned with how the knowledge and skills that you need as a social worker have also extensively changed over the years as the social, political and economic context within which social work operates has also been subject to almost continuous change. This has meant that, in turn, the models or tools that social workers use in their interventions with service users and families have been subject to evaluation as part of this process. Social workers face considerable challenges at this time and it is more important than ever to have a range of interventions and skills to use within social work practice.
Darren Hill, Lorraine Agu, David Mercer

5. 4 Working with diversity: Understanding and locating individuals and communities

Abstract
Social workers have always worked with a diverse range of people from a wide range of ages and backgrounds and with differing levels of needs, so it would be fair to say that working with diversity is a natural and fundamental part of social work practice. However, diversity is often viewed as a negative and problematic concept, one that poses challenges for practitioners and users of services alike in that social work has often been criticised for failing to recognise the diverse needs of communities through providing a one-size-fits-all or mono cultural service. However, changes in global patterns of migration mean that social workers find themselves working with increasingly diverse populations. Though anti-oppressive perspectives have enabled social workers to develop an understanding of diversity and the negative effects of difference in terms of discrimination and marginalisation, Parrott (2014) suggests that social workers are ill-prepared to deal with the effects of an increasingly diverse client population within a globalised world.
Darren Hill, Lorraine Agu, David Mercer

6. 5 Global social work: Locating and understanding the impact of globalisation on social work

Abstract
Within this chapter, we will explore the dynamic and compelling narrative of global social work. Before we move forward in presenting and locating the emerging discussion points within the chapter, we would like the reader to explore and position themselves intellectually; to do this, we would like the reader to reflect on the quote below
Darren Hill, Lorraine Agu, David Mercer

7. 6 Preparing for practice: From first placement to final placement

Abstract
In this chapter we will explore the essential and central role of social work placements within the social work education process. Many students coming onto pre-qualifying social work programmes approach social work placements with both trepidation and excitement. Indeed, it has been indicated that social work students value their placements above other aspects of their social work training (Shardlow and Doel, 1996). Students see their practice learning as essential to their development and to the transition into employment and being employable (Tham and Lynch, 2014). Some commentators have argued that learning on placement has a greater impact than classroom teaching (Bellinger, 2010). This chapter explores the connections between learning at university and learning in practice. It adopts a linear approach to this process from prior to entering social work training to the transition into qualified practice and employment.
Darren Hill, Lorraine Agu, David Mercer

8. 7 Summary

Abstract
In writing this text, we hope to have provided a foundation for your knowledge and learning within social work. This text is not the definitive archive for social work; in fact, it must be acknowledged that no one text could offer an ‘opera omnia’ of social work, such is the breadth and diversity of social work as a subject. At best, we hope to have orientated you, and positioned you, as the reader, to explore and further investigate the role, profession and institution of social work.
Darren Hill, Lorraine Agu, David Mercer
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