Inservice social work education : an analysis of policies and programmes : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Social Work at Massey University
The research project involved an analysis of social work education and training policies and programmes within a statuatory welfare agency in New Zealand (the Department of Social Welfare). A functionalist epistemology and methodology was used to examine the Department's inservice social work training policies and programmes. It is argued that there are four central elements to address in social work education and training: the theoretical base, the knowledge base, skills training, and personal development. It is also argued that social work education and training should be informed by empirical study of the nature of social work practice. The thesis states that an analysis of inservice social work education and training policies and programmes would reveal that social work training within the Department of Social Welfare is: reactive to Issues of the day; comprised of a 'patchwork' of unco-ordinated elements; and is centred on meeting the needs of the agency, rather than systematically preparing social workers for practice. It was found that inservice social work training policies and programmes within the Department of Social Welfare were not based on an explicit theoretical perspective, nor were they grounded in empirical study of the nature of social work practice. Further, the analysis indicated that the four elements of social work education were unevenly covered on training courses and that theory and practice were not integrated. These findings largely support the thesis.