Social Work Placement Profiles


These are examples of teams or organisations that have provided assessed work placements for our social work students:

Homeless Intervention Team, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

The Homeless Intervention Team has been taking a couple of social work students from Goldsmiths on placement each year for the past 10 years.

We have several qualified Practice Educators (ie: placement supervisors) within the team, which means there is an encouraging learning environment. After an induction period, students develop a caseload, working to support vulnerable and marginalised adults who are always at a very low point in their lives. Working with students is a core part of what our team does.

We have found that the energy and enthusiasm the students bring is infectious and really adds value to the good work we are doing in our team. Our service users really benefit from the work students achieve on placement. We work with some of the most challenging adult service users in the borough. People have a perception that Kensington and Chelsea is a privileged area, but nothing could be further from the truth for our team. 

Many of our service users have been street-homeless in the past, with a wide range of complex needs, including drugs and alcohol dependency, long-term mental health issues, and other psychosocial problems. We use housing, mental capacity and safeguarding legislation. We are a multi-professional team, seeking to work holistically with our service users.

We are based in a diverse and vibrant area in central London. Students must have a strong commitment to anti-discriminatory practice, plus good self-reflective skills. A genuine zest for social justice is key. The level of responsibility will vary according to the student’s skill-base and the level of their placement.

Community Mental Health Team, London Borough of Lewisham

The Speedwell Community Mental Health Team is based in south-east London. Its operational policies are governed by both Lewisham Council and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

 It works within both health and social care legislation. The team comprises a multi-disciplinary staff group, which of course includes several social workers.  We all work together to support the assessed needs of a diverse variety of service users with enduring mental disorders.

The team is divided into clinical groups, specifically tailored to support psychosis; mood, anxiety and personality disorders; behaviour and developmental disorders. The team is based in a significantly disadvantaged locality, where issues of poverty, immigration, unemployment, urban deprivation, historic abuse and family dislocation are commonplace. 

There is a long history of providing placements for social work students within the team. Staff work alongside students and university staff to induct, supervise and support student practitioners.

The team provides a two-week induction, weekly individual supervision, team supervision, formal statutory experience and duty cover. Students develop a caseload of complex work, commensurate with their skills and level of capability. Many of our former students return as qualified paid employees.

Child and Families in Need Team, Royal Borough of Greenwich

The Child and Families in Need Team work on a patch-based approach – we work with small local communities within the borough, where we build links and understanding of local needs and local supports.

The team is based in Woolwich. The team works closely with other agencies and other professionals to support the children for whom our team hold responsibilities. We work with children following an initial risk assessment. There is a strong culture within the team of mutual support and a vibrant learning environment.

We regularly host students on their placements – we are committed to developing the required skills and abilities within the next generation of social workers, and many of our current staff have previously been students on placement in the team or in our borough. We follow safeguarding and child-in-need legislation, with a core focus on the child/children within each of our vulnerable families.

All of our cases are complex, with issues of neglect, abuse, poverty, family breakdown and social isolation being common themes. Students contribute positively to our work, by having a reduced caseload of families to support. All students are inducted into our work and are provided with weekly supervision.

Students’ caseloads are diverse, but generally include supported safeguarding work, work with children on support plans, work with children in the early stages of the care system and families in short term crises. We are based in a very diverse and multi-ethnic area in south-east London, where cultural awareness and an ability to focus on “the child” is key.

End of Life Care Team, St Christophers Hospice

St Christophers is an internationally-renowned hospice based in south-east London, working with diverse communities and a particularly challenging and emotionally vulnerable client group.

We work with both health and social care legislation. The social work staff focus on the emotional needs of our patients. Staff reflect the diversity of the catchment area.

Being a multi-professional staff group, our commitment to social work is high. We regularly provide work placements for social work students. Our work is complex and students develop a small caseload, after a thorough induction period, and can do individually as well group-focused support. 

The End of Life Care team works with people of all ages, who are touched by or experiencing end of life issues. We support individuals and families through the dying and bereavement processes.

This is incredibly sensitive and emotional work, so the level of support and care we provide staff and students alike is thorough and focused on empathy, compassion and dignity.

Students’ need to have a robust approach to self-reflection and self-care. All of our students from Goldsmiths have proven highly-motivated, creative and diligent, with a willingness to engage proactively with our patients and their families.