How prepared are Social Work Practitioners for beginners' practice? Reflections of newly qualified BSW graduates

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Peer-Reviewed Research


The establishment of social work qualifications in South Africa emerged at a few universities from 1937 onwards (Earle, 2008; Nicholas, Rautenbach & Maistry, 2010; Potgieter, 1998). In accordance with Section 18A (1) of the Social Service Professions Act (No. 110 of 1978), up until 1987 a social worker required a three-year degree, after which a four-year qualification was required. At some institutions the introduction of a fourth year was included in the undergraduate programme, while others added the fourth year as a separate Honours qualification. This system allowed social workers to gain registration through a range of bachelor’s qualifications in the arts, social sciences or social work. At the time the need for a standardised qualification for all social workers to meet the requirements of practice settings became a growing concern to all the different stakeholders.