How do we prepare students for the challenges of social work and what can we learn from each other? Examples from five countries around the world

Erica Russ, Paula McFadden, Austin Griffiths, Sanna Lehteinen, Pia Tham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter similarities and differences between social work education at five different universities situated in Australia, Finland, UK (Northern Ireland), Sweden, and the United States (Kentucky) are compared. The overall aim was to promote international discussion which allows us to learn from one another, serving as a catalyst for future progress in this area. To better understand how components central to social work education and preparation for social work practice are operationalized in different countries and contexts, the authors compare the curricula in the chosen universities situated in the five countries and discuss similarities and differences across the internationally agreed core components, being social work in context, social work in practice, and practice education. The admission, student selection processes, and the duration of courses and practicum are also discussed. The authors consider the possible implications of differing models of recruitment and training and whether these have benefits for the students’ preparedness for the challenges of social work. The complexities in measuring similarities and differences across diverse models of education are recognized, including the difficulties stemming from different factors being relevant in diverse geographic, cultural, and regulatory contexts. Although acknowledging inherent complexities, similar international comparisons of varying approaches to core elements of social work education internationally are limited. Through the comparison we are better able to understand different approaches to social work education to inform how we may best prepare students for the many challenges of social work practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Social Work Teaching
Subtitle of host publicationRoutledge
EditorsJarosław Przeperski, Rajendra Baikady
Place of PublicationNY
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781003422402
ISBN (Print)9781032727622
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter, Jarosław Przeperski and Rajendra Baikady.


  • international
  • social work
  • education
  • comparison
  • preparation for practice


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