Qualifying social workers and probation officers must take a rigorous approach to the acquisition of knowledge and be able to select and apply it in practice. They must be able to conceptualise, reflect analyse and critically evaluate both underpinning knowledge and their own practice. They must be research minded and draw from the findings of relevant research in their practice. They must be strategic thinkers, able to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of proposals, and to anticipate the possible consequences of decisions or actions.
They should be able to explain in a coherent, comprehensive and convincing manner how their practice is informed by their knowledge base, and be able to apply their knowledge and learning to new situations through appraising what is general and what is particular in each situation.
Qualifying students should be committed to and prepared to take responsibility for their continued learning and development.
Students need to acquire a broad understanding of the key areas of knowledge for social workers and probation officers outlined in this section, as a base for informed practice. Although the knowledge is organised under headings of the six core competencies, it is important that students recognise that social work and probation practice and the application of knowledge within it, is seldom sequential.
Programme providers will need to decide how best to enable students to achieve a broad understanding of this knowledge base and deeper more extensive understanding of knowledge particularly relevant to the service user group and context of their practice learning opportunities.
It is essential that students learn about and understand the legislative framework, philosophy and models of service delivery, of the country of the United Kingdom in which they train.