Professor Joyce Lishman was previously Head of the School of Applied Social Studies, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK. She was also General Editor of the Research Highlights in Social Work series for many years.

Here, she introduces readers to her new book, Social Work Education and Training.

I have been associated with Research Highlights (RH) for 30 years since I became Acting Editor of the first series. I negotiated the change of publisher to JKP, so I am really proud of my long connection with an independent publisher who has blossomed and remained kind to editors and authors.

The latest volume of RH (number 54) is called Social Work Education and Training – a topical and debated issue in the UK where social work education and the practice and organisation of social work are highly political and contested. The volume addresses the need to demonstrate that social work education is preparing students, new entrants to the profession, for this changing and ambiguous context, but uses a research and evidence base to underpin it. The volume examines the evaluation of social work education and the wider perspective of Europe with its added social pedagogy perpective. It also examines teaching and learning in ethics, analytic reflective thinking, evidence-based practice, IT and practice learning, and addresses critical tensions between education and training, in terms of generalist and specialist education. A major issue for Social Work Education historically has been a lack of a detailed research base and, in drawing together this volume, we demonstrate both the evidence and the gaps.

I hope that for any reader this volume engages them in honest debate about the future of social work education and training in the context of the political uncertainty about future policy and practice. I hope they will be encouraged to think from an ethical, analytic, reflective and research base (no mean task!) about how we should develop social work and social care and the education and training involved.

I have worked in Social Work Education for 25 years and am pleased with the changes I have seen: more integration of knowledge, theory and practice; more involvement of service users and carers; more use of an evidence base and much more focus on outcomes. The series and this latest book represent my long-term commitment to evaluating social work and demonstrating outcomes.  Now that I have retired, I shall miss this work and am open to new opportunities to engage with the agenda.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

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