Social work students: stirred not shaken by social work practice
North-West University social work students recently presented their community projects during a glitzy event presented by the social work subject group on the Vaal Triangle Campus and attended by social work staff and students from the Mafikeng and Potchefstroom Campuses.
Students face the challenging realities of social work practice during their internships. During March in their fourth year, students do five-day internship and from the start of June they do a 75-day internship. Students are placed at organisations focused on diverse social problems during their internships. While there they are required to plan and execute a community project relevant to the organisation they are posted at.
The annual intercampus project day follows on their internship. Students present their projects to a panel of lecturers, while they explain the objectives of the project, the logistics of getting the project done, and finally the impact the project had on both the community members and themselves.
The projects undertaken by students were divided in the following categories:
- Crime prevention and domestic violence;
- Community engagement and income generation;
- Child, family and elderly care;
- Life skills;
- Education, self-esteem and parenting skills;
- Occupational social work: social work in host settings and welfare;
- Disabled care and women’s health and wellness; and
- Substance abuse.
During this James Bond-inspired event, organisers borrowed from all the best lessons from this famous spy’s story. They declared themselves to be “stirred, not shaken”, borrowing from the famous James Bond line. According to social work lecturer, Dr Elmien Truter, they also used the title of the 1971 ‘Diamonds are Forever’ James Bond movie for a special reason. Once students finish their studies and enter social work practice, they must remember to be like diamonds: diamonds are created under pressure, shine brightly and are beautiful – like all social workers who answered what they believe to be a calling to make a difference in the lives of those in need. Likewise, the social work lecturers are diamond cutters who help their students (the diamonds) to reveal their best qualities and as social workers become diamond cutters in the lives of their clients.