5 tips on starting your social work placement/ASYE

Congratulations, you’ve landed a placement in your dream profession! But now the start date is steaming towards you and the first-day nerves are beginning to kick in. Sound familiar? Don’t panic…we’ve collated some expert advice on how to prepare for your placement, as well as what to expect and who to go to if you get in a fluster!


  1. Familiarise yourself with roles 


Before you even begin your placement make sure you’re familiar not only with your own role, but also of those who you’ll be working with. For instance, understanding the difference between the responsibilities of your training supervisor versus your practice educator is a good place to start. This way, you’ll walk through the door on your first day prepared, while mitigating the risk of asking the wrong person the wrong question! It’s also a good idea to inquire about your own role on the first few days and piece together how you fit into the team.


  1. Ask for help


It may sound obvious,  but remember that your training team is there for just that – training! Pick their brains, ask questions and most importantly, get feedback on your performance. Your training supervisor and practice educator are responsible for creating a high quality learning environment where you can build confidence in your profession. Maintain regular contact with them so they’re aware of how you’re getting on and if you need any additional support. Clear communication is the key to a successful placement where everyone is on the same page and working to the same objectives. 


  1. Throw yourself into the opportunities available 


Don’t be shy! Be hands-on with the learning opportunities available to you across the PCF/SWEPS domains. It is your responsibility alone to make the best use of your time on placement, so be proactive and absorb as much expertise, training and support as you possibly can. This will put you in the best position to excel in your role and achieve your learning outcomes…because practice makes perfect! 


  1. Get to know people


Building positive rapport with colleagues is fundamental in any professional setting, especially during your first couple of weeks. Make sure you get chatting to others on your placement – from making friends with a fellow colleague on placement, through to building a relationship with your supervisor. This will give you the opportunity to share any challenges you’re facing and make sure you have a support system in place. It’s also a good idea to figure out who is most likely to let you shadow them…and you never know, you might come away with expert insight into your new profession as well as a great friend!


  1. Maintain a healthy work/life balance


Although easier said than done, this is something we should all prioritise. Take time to do something you enjoy each day, whether that be listening to your favourite podcast, going for a cycle or treating yourself to a takeaway! Get into the habit of setting this time aside each day – this will allow your mind to switch off and reset for the day of work ahead. 


We hope this guide was helpful in helping you navigate the first chapter of your placement. Remember, you’re there to learn and it’s ok to make mistakes and ask for support when you need it. Keep calm and enjoy the ride!


Visit our careers advice page for further tips on everything from finding the perfect role, to acing the interview. 

carlette Isaac

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