Social work students on the island of Ireland: a cross-sectional survey

Claire McCartan, Julie Byrne, Jim Campbell, Declan Coogan, Gavin Davidson, David Hayes, Gloria Kirwan, Mandi MacDonald, Simone McCaughren, Paula McFadden, Caroline McGregor, Lorna Montgomery, Maria Pentaraki, Shaun Roddy, Audrey Roulston, Caroline Shore, Elaine Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding the characteristics, motivations and experiences of student social workers is important to inform their professional education and support needs. To date there has been relatively little research about social work students in Ireland, both North and South. This study reports on an all-Ireland survey of students beginning their social work course in Autumn 2018 in the six Universities delivering social work education. It describes the characteristics of the student cohort, examines the motivations behind choosing this career and highlights some of the potentially relevant life experiences and beliefs which may have contributed to their ambition to join the social work profession. Implications for social work education, recommendations for curriculum development, workforce planning and the provision of appropriate support for students are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Work Education
Early online date14 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished online - 14 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the Office of Social Services, Department of Health, Northern Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Social Care Council.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Ireland
  • Social work education
  • curriculum development
  • reflective practice
  • student support


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