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INTERCOLLEGE SOCIAL WORK PROGRAMME. Social Work Education & Practice Placement in Cyprus. Dr. C. Panayiotopoulos Mrs. D. Cochliou. [email protected] cochliou.d@ unic Outline. Current situation Some problems Implications SW Placement Levels

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Social Work Education & Practice Placement in Cyprus

Dr. C. Panayiotopoulos

Mrs. D. Cochliou

[email protected]

[email protected]

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  • Current situation

  • Some problems

  • Implications

  • SW Placement Levels

  • Social care organisations used for SW placement

  • Student Supervision

  • Practice Supervisor’s Role

  • Suggestions for improvement

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Current Situation

  • Social Work Education & Training

    • Education was provided till 2001 solely from SW Departments in Greece

    • Since 2001 a new SW programme was developed which was covering educational needs in Cyprus for social workers

    • In 2005 a second programme is established, offered in two languages

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Current Situation

  • All programmes are based on the educational programme offered in Greece however

    • Social Work Education in Cyprus is offered only by private tertiary Educational Institutions

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Some Problems

  • Teaching staff was not full based in Cyprus so there were gaps in the educational provision

    • Practitioners who hold a Masters are not being used in teaching due to the official guidelines…

  • Supervision was mainly provided by other professionals due to the lack of social workers who work in NGO’s

    • This is an issue that needs attention as there is a law in force (since 2005) who allows only Social Workers with a undergraduate degree in SW to register as a Social Worker

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  • Students were receiving inadequate supervision in their practice placement

  • There is not an official body that supervises student’s field work so there are many examples of bad practice

  • A potential danger of having future professionals who have received inadequate training as far as their practicum concerns

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  • Current social workers in non-governmental organisations have no previous experience in supervision (either to provide or receive)

  • In Social Welfare Services supervision is scarce due to increased workload…

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SW Placement Levels

  • 1οLevel = 4οSemester - 2 days per week

    • Understanding of key theoretical concepts which inform social work practice

    • Can produce a clear, concise & accurately presented written report

  • 2οLevel= 5οSemester - 3 days

    • Beginning ability to apply social work theories and methods

    • Demonstrates a beginning ability to analyse, evaluate & reflect on practice

  • 3οLevel = 6οSemester - 4 days

    • Ability to select, apply and sustain appropriate social work methods and demonstrate explicit use of same

    • Demonstrates an extended repertoire of skills integral to their practice

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Social Care Organisations used for SW Placements

  • Students are placed only in organisations which employ a qualified SW

  • Examples:

    • Social Welfare Services

    • CYTA

    • Home for Mentally Retard Persons

    • Home for Elder People

    • The Cyprus Institute of Neurology &



    • Local Authorities

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Student Supervision

  • Students should have weekly protected supervision of 1½ hours with their practice supervisor

  • Supplemented by ongoing supervision as required with the university supervisor

  • Supervision is viewed as a shared responsibility between the student & practice supervisor

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Practice Supervisor’s Role

  • To help the student make links between theory to practice

  • To facilitate an understanding of the practice context & to consider how this knowledge impacts on their work with service users & carers

  • Help the student in supervision to revise relevant theory & link it to their practice & the placement setting. Make suggestions as to relevant reading material

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Practice Supervisor’s Role

  • Delegate tasks, read & feedback on any work requested to achieve the learning standards

  • Give continuous feedback to the student on their progress & encourage reflection & analysis of their practice

  • Work closely with the University supervisor in identifying the learning needs of the student, assessing & monitoring

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The truth behind the scenes…

  • The support provided by practice supervisors is variable

  • Usually are too busy to perform their role & complete all the tasks

  • Lack of training on supervision

  • Their workload is overwhelming because their agencies are usually running with less personnel

  • There is not an established supervision system for professionals

  • As a result students do not receive professional supervision

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Suggestions for improvement

  • Develop training sessions to educated social work practitioners how to provide supervision to students

  • Develop an agency policy model on supervision for Cypriot social services

  • Establish links of collaboration & networking with universities abroad for practice placement

  • Support the local association of social workers to re-establish social worker’s role in the Cypriot welfare system

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Social Work Education & Practice Placement in Cyprus

Dr. C. Panayiotopoulos

Mrs. D. Cochliou

[email protected]

[email protected] cy