Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PSYC100 Foundations of Psychology AND SOCS100 Introduction to Sociology AND HLSC120 Indigenous Health and Culture AND SWTP108 History, Purpose and Context of Social Work and Human Services AND PSYC101 Applications of Psychology AND SOCS108 Contemporary Society and Change AND SWTP215 Ethics and Theories in Social Work AND SWTP216 Social Work Skills in Practice with Individuals AND SWTP217 Social Work with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities AND SWTP218 Social Work with Children, Youth and Families AND SWTP238 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Social Work Practice

Unit rationale, description and aim

Social work is a distinct discipline and social workers demonstrate their professional identity by applying and integrating social work values, ethics, knowledge and skills in diverse practice contexts. This unit is the first of two professional practice units that builds on theoretical knowledge and practice learning in the first two years of the degree. Students will undertake a supervised field placement of 500 hours in human service agencies, including attending 10 hours of campus-based integrative seminars. Learning in this unit is informed by the AASW Practice Standards and the AASW Code of Ethics.  The learning outcomes of the unit are consistent with the Bachelor of Social Work curriculum that embeds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and prepares students for practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

The aim of this unit is that students develop a beginning level of competence in social work practice in an agency setting. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Acquire knowledge on social work practice and service delivery in an organizational setting (GA5, GA6) 

LO2 - Assimilate and demonstrate professional and ethical behavior appropriate to the practice setting (GA1, GA2, GA5) 

LO3 - Apply knowledge and skills developed in campus-based units and in the placement setting to demonstrate AASW practice standards at a beginning level of capability (GA1-10) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively 


On successful completion of this unit, students should have developed: 

GA1 - Identity as a professional social worker 

GA2 - Sound understanding of and commitment to social work values and ethics to guide social work Practice 

GA3 - Ability to apply social work knowledge and interventions to respond effectively in meeting the needs of individuals, groups and communities in diverse settings, client groups and geographic locations 

GA4 - Ability to apply knowledge of human behaviour and society, as well as the social, cultural, political, legal, economic and global contexts of practice to respond effectively within a human rights and social justice framework 

GA5 - Ability to review, critically analyse and synthesise knowledge and values and apply reflective thinking skills to inform professional judgement and practice 

GA6 - Ability to apply research knowledge and skills to understand, evaluate and use research to inform practice and to develop, execute and disseminate research informed by practice 

GA7 - Demonstration of effective communication and interpersonal skills 

GA8 - Ability to work with diversity and demonstrate respect for cultural difference 

GA9 - Understanding of the importance of and commitment to ongoing professional development 

AASW Practice Standards 

This unit has been mapped to the ACU Graduate Attributes, AASW Graduate Attributes and the AASW Practice Standards. The following table sets out the broad relationship between the Learning Outcomes, ACU Graduate Attributes, AASW Graduate Attributes and the AASW Practice Standards 

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes


1.1 Practice in accordance with the AASW Code of Ethics  

1.2 Manage ethical dilemmas and issues arising in practice 

2.1 Represent the social work profession with integrity and professionalism 

2.2 Behave in a professional manner and be accountable for all actions and decisions 


1.1Practice in accordance with the Code of Ethics (2010) 

1.2Manage ethical dilemmas and issues arising in practice 

2.1 Represent the social work profession with integrity and professionalism 

2.2 Behave in a professional manner and be accountable for all actions and decisions 

 3.1 work respectfully and inclusively with cultural differences and diversity 

3.2 respect, strive to understand and promote the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures 

4.1 Understand higher level systemic influences on people with respect to area of practice 

4.2 Understand and articulate social work and other relevant theories and concepts 

4.3 Understand the role of research and evaluation in obtaining and generating new knowledge for practice 

4.4 Understand and articulate how and when theories, knowledge bases and knowledge sources inform practice. 

5.1 conduct an assessment and analysis of needs to inform the services being offered 

5.2 Work collaboratively with relevant people 

5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking to practice 

6.1 Effectively communicate with a diverse range of people 

6.3 Effectively communicate with others in a team environment 

6.4 Use information technology to communicate and provide services as appropriate 

7.1 record and manage information appropriately 

7.2 Keep and maintain information in accordance with ethical principles and relevant legislation 

8.1 Actively participate in professional supervision 

8.2 Engage in continuing professional development as outlined in the AASW continuing professional development requirements 



Interactive discussions and experience-based learning activities assist students to explore placement learning experiences, with a focus on: 

  • Relating theory and knowledge to practice 
  • Exploring values and ethics in practice 
  • Critical reflection 
  • Building social work identity 


Students’ learning needs are responded to as they work toward meeting AASW requirements for field placements. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

For this professional experience unit, learning happens in the agency placement and in the classroom. The main teaching and learning strategies include experiential learning, reflective learning, practice - theory integration and skills development. These are used in the placement setting, and integration of this experience with social work knowledge, values and ethics is facilitated in 10 hours of campus-based integrative seminars. Planned learning goals and strategies for the specific placement are recorded in the Learning Agreement. This Unit Outline needs to be read in conjunction with the Social Work Field Education Handbook. 


Punctual and full attendance on the placement is an essential requirement for the unit. The attendance requirements are specified in ACU Assessment Policy, in accordance with AASW requirements. Attendance at all integrative seminars is expected and an attendance record of all seminars will be kept. Students are required to complete 500 hours of placement, including at least 80% of all integrative seminars scheduled for this unit. 

Reasons why attendance is required 

In integrative seminars, students will be interacting with each other and developing skills which will be used in professional/clinical practice. Students who do not attend are at risk of not developing these essential skills. Attendance is required as part of meeting the AASW requirement to integrate campus learning with field placement learning and skill development. 

Mode: Field education practice in community-based agencies as well as class seminars. 

Duration: Students will participate in the equivalent of 500 hours of supervised field education experience including 10 hours of participation in class seminars.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

Students are assessed on a range of activities that accumulate over the beginning, middle and end of the placement and which reflect developmental and experiential learning principles. These assessments of learning at the beginning, middle and end are designed to identify areas of competence and deficit, as well as strategies for students to address areas of deficit prior to the next assessment point. The tasks that contribute to these assessments include a Learning Agreement, Mid Placement Report and Final Placement Report. The mid and end of placement report are structured in line with Australian Association of Social Workers Practice Standards. Students are also required to submit a signed timesheet at the end of their placement. Each assessment task is informed by the identified learning outcomes for the unit.  

The Learning Agreement is developed in collaboration with the social work supervisor. It sets out the specific goals and activities associated with the placement and the nature of evidence required to demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes.   

The Mid Placement report requires students to demonstrate their progress toward their learning goals at the mid-point of their placement. The report also includes feedback from the student’s Field Educators. This task provides students with the opportunity to review progress against learning goals and plan for tasks and strategies to meet goals for the remainder of the placement. The Mid Placement tasks enable students to articulate the connections between relevant social work theory and ethics to their placement experience in order to develop informed practice decision making. 

In the Final Placement Report, students demonstrate their progress toward and achievement of the learning goals at the conclusion of their placement. The report also includes feedback from the student’s Field Educators. Students use the Final Placement Report to evidence beginning practice capability. 

In negotiation with the ACU Liaison Visitor and Social Work Supervisor, students will be able to revise the Learning Agreement and Mid Placement Report in response to feedback on the requirements to achieve a satisfactory standard. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Learning Agreement 

Enables students to identify their learning goals, tasks and timeframes for completion in alignment with AASW Practice Standards 


LO1, LO2, LO3,  


Mid Placement report Enables students to articulate the connections between relevant social work theory and ethics to their placement experience


LO1, LO2, LO3,  


Final Placement Report   

Enables students to demonstrate their progress against learning goals and beginning competence in relation to all AASW practice standards.


LO1, LO2, LO3,  


Signed Time Sheet 

Students to demonstrate completing at least 500 hours on placement by providing a time sheet signed by the placement agency. 



GA2, GA5 

Representative texts and references

Australian Association of Social Workers (2010) Code of ethics. AASW: Canberra. 


Australian Association of Social Workers (2013) Practice standards. AASW: Canberra. 


Cleak, H., & J. Wilson. (2019). Making the most of field placement (4th ed.).  Victoria. Thomson: Learning Australia.   

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