Social work students on the island of Ireland: a cross-sectional survey

Claire McCartan, Julie Byrne, Jim Campbell, Declan Coogan, Gavin Davidson, David Hayes, Gloria Kirwan, Mandi MacDonald, Simone McCaughren, Paula McFadden, Caroline McGregor, Lorna Montgomery, Maria Pentaraki, Shaun Roddy, Audrey Roulston, Caroline Shore, Elaine Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the characteristics, motivations and experiences of student social workers is important to inform their professional education and support needs. To date there has been relatively little research about social work students in Ireland, both North and South. This study reports on an all-Ireland survey of students beginning their social work course in Autumn 2018 in the six Universities delivering social work education. It describes the characteristics of the student cohort, examines the motivations behind choosing this career and highlights some of the potentially relevant life experiences and beliefs which may have contributed to their ambition to join the social work profession. Implications for social work education, recommendations for curriculum development, workforce planning and the provision of appropriate support for students are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalSocial Work Education: the international journal
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020


  • social work education
  • Ireland
  • curriculum development
  • student support
  • reflective practice

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