We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and to show you personalised advertising. To find out more, read our privacy policy and cookie policy

Social Work

Social Work Placements

Welcome to social work field education at the University of Wollongong (UOW). Field education provides students with the opportunity to put their University learning into practice and explore the world of social work. For the majority of students, the field education experience confirms their interest in and commitment to social work. Field education provides rich opportunities for students to develop their knowledge, skills and social work identity via workplace learning. 

The success of our fieldwork program depends on the meaningful partnerships and quality working relationships between the University and agencies. These partnerships are based on mutual respect, collaboration and commitment to student development. The University acknowledges and appreciates the immense contribution of agencies, staff and consumers who freely give their time, commitment, resources and expertise to the education of our social work students.

It is a requirement of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) that students undertake two 500 hour field education (placement) subjects during their social work degree. Students are to attend placement 3-4 days per week for the duration of the 500 hours. In extenuating circumstances, variations to the days per week will be considered by the subject coordinator and must be accompanied by support documents (eg medical certificates) in order to be compliant with the AASW accreditation requirements.

All placements are sourced by our experienced Field Education Coordinators. You will be matched to placement based on a variety of factors including your areas of interest, your availability, your location and areas that would be problematic for you to be placed.

Key Information

Any student who undertakes placement in a NSW Health facility or service is required to provide evidence of compliance with screening and vaccination schedules. To do this, you will participate in the NSW Health Verification Process. Although not all social work students will attend placement in a NSW Health facility, it is strongly encouraged for all to participate in the verification process to maximise your placement opportunities. Verification can take as long as 5 months so it's important to start early (verification dates example). 

Prior to commencing study:

  1. Read the NSW Health Student Verification Pack.
  2. Obtain and hold a valid National Police Certificate (NPC) for the duration of your placement/s.  National Police Certificates (or National Police Checks) are available through all State or Territory Police Forces, the Australian Federal Police or a number of Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) accredited bodies. If you have a charge or a conviction listed on your National Police Certificate, you must also apply for a risk assessmentIf you are an International Student, in addition to an Australian NPC, you must also provide a National Police Certificate from your home country (or any country you have resided in for more than 6 months since turning 18 years of age).  If this is not possible, you must sign the Overseas Student Statutory Declaration.  Please note, this Declaration can only be completed after arriving in NSW.
  3. Download a copy of the Vaccination Record Card and take it to your GP or NSW Health Staff Clinic for them to complete (hard copies are also available from Wollongong Campus Student Hub 41 or Regional Campus Admin)
  4. Collate evidence of your vaccinations and immunisation documentation.
  5. Complete the NSW Health forms as included in the NSW Health Student Verification Pack, i.e. Code of ConductAppendix 6: Undertaking/Declaration Form and the two-page Tuberculosis (TB) Assessment Tool

Once you have commenced study:

  1. Take the ‘Verification Readiness’ Quiz on the NSW Health Verification Readiness Moodle site.
  2. Review the verification checklist on page 3 of the NSW Health Student Verification Pack.
  3. SCAN all documents into PDF format and email them to the UOW Verification Team uow-verification@uow.edu.au. Please include your Full Name, Student Number and your Course Discipline in all correspondence with the UOW Verification Team

Upon receipt of your documentation, the UOW Verification Team will in turn pass all documents onto the NSW Health Verification team.  It is the NSW Health Verification Team that make the final decision and determine if a student meets the requirements.

Please note:

Verification can be a lengthy process.  Start early, do not leave it to the last minute as if you are not verified you cannot commence placement.

It is each student’s responsibility to keep the originals of all verification documents, even after being fully verified.  Students may be asked to present these prior commencing placement in a NSW Health facility.

In addition to the above verification requirements, the below checks are mandatory for all social work students:

  • Working with children check (can be for paid or volunteer work)
  • Obtain and hold a valid Australian National Police Certificate (NPC) for the duration of your placement/s.  National Police Certificates (or National Police Checks) are available through all State or Territory Police Forces, the Australian Federal Police or a number of Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) accredited bodies.  NPC's are valid for five years from date of issue.
  • If you are an International Student, in addition to an Australian NPC, you must also provide a National Police Certificate from your home country (or any country you have resided in for more than 6 months since turning 18 years of age).  If this is not possible, you must complete the Overseas Student Statutory Declaration which needs to be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace, a Legal Practitioner or a Judicial Officer. Please note, this Declaration can only be completed after arriving in NSW.
  • Student Field Application form and Placement Acknowledgement Form (will be sent to you when applicable)
  • Attend a pre-placement consultation with a UOW Field Education Coordinator (information will be provided when applicable)

The University will attempt to secure placement opportunities in various locations predominately throughout the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, South Western Sydney and Sydney region. However, some placements may be located outside of this area and may result in students having to travel to places that are relatively distant from campus and their residences in order to benefit from a range of placement experiences. The recommended maximum travel time from a student’s place of residence to the placement agency should be no greater than one hour (or 90km). The student’s learning needs and placement experience will take priority over the distance of the placement. The student is responsible for all costs associated with undertaking a field placement.

  • What if I have previous experience in the Social Work industry?
    There is the possibility of being assessed for recognition of prior learning (RPL) for the first field placement or part there of. UOW is guided by the AASW guidelines in relation to RPL assessment.
  • How long is a field placement?
    Social Work placements are for a minimum of 500 hours (per placement) and are usually completed within a 17 week block. You will be required to undertake two placements (in difference practice fields) in order to satisfy your degree requirements.
  • Will I get paid for my placement?
    Being paid for a field education placement is not the standard practice.
  • Where can I do my placement?
    Placements are usually undertaken in settings such as community service organisations, health, mental health, research projects, youth, children and family services, aged care and occasionally education providers.
  • Do I need to find my own placement?
    No. The placements are sourced by our Field Education Coordinator. You will consulted prior to allocation.

Bachelor of Social Work – SOWK310/343 Supervised Professional Practice I

Master of Social Work (Qualifying) - SOWK916 Professional Practice Placement I

  1. Take responsibility for professional practice;
  2. Take responsibility for administrative requirement in the agency;
  3. Demonstrate a commitment to professional and civic engagement in practice settings;
  4. Initiate and sustain relationships with individuals, families, groups and or communities;
  5. Identify, assess and respond to risk, diversity, rights and/or responsibilities as appropriate;
  6. Identify and explore needs in context with individuals, families, groups and/or communities;
  7. Establish a process to observe and analyse information;
  8. Set goals and monitor specific service arrangements as required in the agency context;
  9. Implement appropriate and negotiated activities.

Bachelor of Social Work - SOWK410 Supervised Professional Practice II

Master of Social Work (Qualifying) - SOWK924 Professional Practice Placement II

  1. Construct effective practice approaches in working with diverse groups using a human rights and social justice framework;
  2. Form purposeful relationships with individuals, families, groups and or communities in complex contexts;
  3. Gather selective information on psychosocial issues including consumers’ and community perspectives;
  4. Interpret the multifaceted needs of individuals, families, groups and or communities;
  5. Establish a process to synthesise information from individuals, families, groups and or communities;
  6. Design plans for safe and effective practice;
  7. Implement appropriate and negotiated activities with individuals, families, groups and communities;
  8. Propose models for effective practice in programs and services using evidence from practice;
  9. Consult with supervisors to resolve ethical, legal, policy and administrative dilemmas in professional practice;
  10. Demonstrate a commitment to professional and civic engagement in practice settings.

The AASW and UOW acknowledge that social work students bring with them skills, knowledge and experience that can be recognised through the RPL/CPL assessment process. You can only apply for RPL/CPL for your first placement. 

To determine if you are eligible for full or partial recognition/credit of prior learning for your first placement you will need to meet the current criteria outlined by the AASW guidelines for Recognition for Prior Learning in the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS) 2012. 

Your application and evidence will be assessed by UOW in keeping with the UOW and AASW RPL/CPL assessment process and you will be informed of the outcome with enough time to withdraw from the subject before census, submit a grievance regarding the RPL/CPL assessment outcome or make arrangements to continue with your placement.

Below are the guidelines specified by the AASW for RPL/CPL:

  • I can demonstrate that I have at least three years (full-time equivalent) in a health or welfare setting that would be deemed appropriate as a field education setting for a first placement student.
  • I can demonstrate that the tasks in the roles I have held are similar to those of a Social Worker, for example, casework, risk assessment, counselling, management or community development work.
  • For each role I am using as evidence, I am able to provide a referee to verify I performed the tasks I have stated
  • I am able to forward a portfolio of evidence that will meet UOW and AASW RPL requirements.
  • I understand that to be assessed for RPL/CPL, I need to submit necessary documentation in addition to my evidence by the date advised by the field education team. These documents include UOW Learning Statement, UOW Application for Credit for Prior Learning, Student response to AASW statement.

All students who are eligible for placement will be contacted about their intention to apply for RPL/CPL and there will also be information sessions advertised to actively enrolled students. If you have questions about the RPL/CPL application process AFTER completing the self-assessment quiz in the pre-placement Moodle site, please contact your campus Field Education Team for assistance.

Our social work placements are coordinated by our Field Education Team. If you still have questions after reading through the information supplied, please email our team, available across three campus locations:

Please self enrol in our pre-placement Moodle site to find all the information you need in order to be ready for placement or apply for recognition of prior learning. The site is not a subject, enter the site name in the search box on your Moodle home page (use the self enrol document linked above). The site name and self enrolment key can be found on your Sonia home page.

Close