NUI Galway to Host First National Social Work Education Conference
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
The first ever National Social Work Education Conference will take place in NUI Galway on Friday, 11 February in Áras Moyola. This event is being co-hosted by the National Social Work Qualifications Board (NSWQB) and the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway. It brings together student social workers, newly qualified social workers, practice teachers, researchers, policy makers, universities and employers for the first social work education conference of its kind in the Republic of Ireland. A range of speakers will explore the current issues in social work education and practice encompassing student, teacher, research and employer perspectives. It will create a picture of the current state of play in the discipline and work towards an action plan for the way forward. The aim of the conference is to create a lasting partnership between stakeholders in social work in order to meet future challenges within the discipline. The conference will highlight the importance of continuing professional development for those carrying out challenging work with a focus on one well established accredited post qualifying course in Practice Teaching. Future developments at NUI Galway in this area will also be announced. A Framework for Practice Placements in Ireland will be launched on the day. This is in response to the need for a strong framework of induction for those social workers beginning their careers, and employer-led initiatives for providing appropriate caseloads and supervision for new graduates will be explored at the conference. Professor Bríd Featherstone, Director of Social Work at NUI Galway says: "This conference is being held at a difficult time in Irish history. It will highlight the strengths and challenges facing social workers in a climate where there are increasing levels of need and distress and consider what the key policy issues should be for an incoming government in order to ensure that a high-quality workforce is sustained and developed further. The next decade of social work education in Ireland will be informed by the insights and recommendations that will emerge from this unique gathering at NUI Galway."