Department Of Social Work Organises First Training Workshop for Fieldwork Supervisors

Participants and some lecturers at the Department of Social Work on the first day of the workshop

The Department of Social Work has organized its maiden training workshop for supervisors of students on fieldwork placement. The two-day event brought together about 100 field placement supervisors from different institutions and organizations in the Greater Accra Region.  

In her welcome address, Dr. Mavis Dako-Gyeke, the Head of the Department of Social Work thanked the field supervisors for the many years they have worked closely with the Department in training both undergraduate and graduate students.  She noted that during the period of the field placements, students are guided by field supervisors who are officials of the various agencies in which students are placed.  She indicated that over the years, the Department of Social Work has gradually lost field supervisors, making it difficult for students to find agencies that will accept them for field placement. Additionally, there have been complaints from both students and agencies about challenges experienced during the field placements.   According to Dr. Dako-Gyeke, it was, therefore, imperative that the Department of Social Work holds the training workshop to build the capacity of field supervisors to enable them effectively supervise the students, keeping in mind the Department’s aims of placing students. 

The Head of Department, Dr. Mavis Dako-Gyeke, giving a welcome address. 

Prof. Kwaku Osei-Hwedie from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Accra delivered opening remarks on the first day of the workshop. He indicated that fieldwork is an extension of classroom education as it is to help explore the responses to the consequences of livelihoods and complexities of our local environments, societies and institutions, and to effectively manage these. In this respect, it is necessary to develop the appropriate knowledge, tools, and skills for social work practice, using fieldwork as the practical application of knowledge. It is a reflective teaching and practice for developing a process for comprehensive understanding of the social work helping process.

Prof. Charity Akotia, Dean of the School of Social Sciences, University of Ghana, remarked in her opening address that with the growing competition that has come about as a result of the establishment of private universities, academic departments would have to find innovative ways to attract good students and also provide quality education to its internal stakeholders.  The training of field placement supervisors, she said, is therefore in the right direction.  She also noted that fieldwork placement is an instrument of socialization that prepares the student for a future career as a social work practitioner. Thus, a meaningful field placement, she argued, is one that would enhance the student’s understanding of the social work profession and the nature of problems and challenges the profession addresses to itself.

            Prof. Charity Akotia delivering the opening remarks on the second day of the workshop

Topics discussed at the training workshop were the characteristics of fieldwork placement, principles of placement/internship and tips on supervising students on placement. The supervisors were also led to review and discuss the fieldwork manual which is prepared by the department. After this, there were break-out sessions where the supervisors deliberate on their expectations, challenges and recommendations. Certificates of participation were given to participants at the end of the workshop.

As part of the training curricular at the Department of Social Work, students embark on two main forms of field placements, namely; the long vacation and concurrent field placements. The long vacation field placement covers a period of eight weeks and the concurrent field placement is undertaken within a period of thirteen weeks when school is in session. These field placements have played a crucial role in the training of students to become professional social workers. The field placements offer students the opportunity to: (a) apply the theoretical aspects of the discipline which are learnt in the classroom to real life situations; (b) provide students an insight and preliminary orientation to experience professional practice; and (c) help students develop skills that will enable them respond to the needs of clients whiles on field placement and beyond.

A participant receiving a certificate and a souvenir at the end of the first day