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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Paper presented in April 2016 at the FESET conference in Strasbourg


In the context of increased managerialism as well as reduced resources in social services organisation employers want students ‘properly prepared’ for practice (Frost, Höjer & Campanini, 2013). However research has suggested that there are differences in the way knowledge is understood and used between educational institutions and the workplace. Symes and McIntyre (2000) and Higgins (2014) proposed knowledge in the former setting is explicit and thus can be “formulated and textualised” (Symes & McIntyre, 2000, p.3) and centres around a critical engagement with knowledge, while in the workplace what is known cannot always be articulated and is used to get the job done. While the inclusion of practice placements in educational programmes is associated with a more successful transition to the workplace (Billett, 2009), experiences can be fundamentally different from that of the workplace as placements are “structured educational opportunities” (O’Connor, Hughes, Turney, Wilson & Setterlund, 2006, p.179). However it has been found that students who are satisfied with their training have greater occupational commitment (Criss, 2010). This paper reports on the findings of the first stage of a two stage study exploring seventeen social care students’ anticipations for and experience of the transition to practice. Findings focus on their views of how college and placement experiences prepared them for practice, their role in being prepared as well as their judgment of their readiness to work as qualified practitioners.



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