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Direttore Responsabile: Giulia Golo

Professionalism and Training Needs of Social Work Between Theoretical and Practical Knowledge

TitleProfessionalism and Training Needs of Social Work Between Theoretical and Practical Knowledge
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsCellini G, Dellavalle M
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published02/2022
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
KeywordsEducation, innovation, Italy, Social Work, University

The evolution of policies is interconnected with that of professional practices, which require social workers to perform increasingly complex tasks. In this context, where gaining and maintaining a high level of professional knowledge and skills is essential for practitioners, social work education plays a crucial role. This paper presents the findings of a study consisting of two stages. The first focuses on the current educational provision in the 37 three-year bachelor’s degree programmes in social work offered in Italian universities, through a survey of institutional documents mediated by the internet. Data were extrapolated from the documents in order to carry out a comparative analysis of the training needs indicated by the degree courses and the educational provision. In the second stage, fifteen interviews were carried out to managers of social services, academics, and social workers. Topics addressed by the qualitative analysis are the social worker’s professional identity, the knowledge and skills needed by practitioners, and the relationship between professionalism and managerialism. Findings show that the bachelor’s degree programmes provide a good theoretical grounding; at the same time, there is a need to “reinforce” social work education as a whole to ensure that skills that can be used in professional practice are acquired.