Government ministers, social work managers and university academics all strive to shape social work education and training. But what do social work students themselves think about their education, their courses and practical training? This book uniquely focuses on the student experience. The author has experience of teaching social work at numerous universities and, merging his own observations with those of his interviewees, he concludes with radical proposals: "social work clients do not tend to be found on the playing fields of Eton, rather they emerge from the poor and disadvantaged classes of society. Instead of focusing on social workers and their training, it is to this iniquitous class structure that we should turn for solutions to the many social problems we encounter daily." A student opinion: "I spend about 75 per cent of my time on the computer. I currently have to update two databases. It's all duplicated nonsense. The amount of money wasted on IT is absolutely incredible. I'm just about to get my fourth computer in three years. We had one computer set up 18 months ago with a scanner that sits on its own desk collecting dust.
We were told we were going to have to scan all our files, one page at a time, and go paperless but no one mentions it any more and no one's ever turned the scanner on! They took away our desk phones a year ago and now we have these shitty mobiles. The future of social work? It'll be to train up unqualified staff to do the job cheaper and take the can if anything goes wrong. Our team has been cut by 60 per cent and we're being integrated into the voluntary sector, which will be shit."
Dr Bob Mullan has taught social work at a number of UK universities, including Leicester, Nottingham, Chichester and East Anglia. He has written over 20 books, including Mad to be Normal and Therapists on Therapy, directed over 40 documentary films and, more recently, has written and directed two feature films (Letters to Sofija and Voices of Pain).