February 4, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Story by Agnes Chick

The Vitali Student Lounge was bustling with energy on Friday as students from the School of Social Work engaged with local community agencies from diverse sectors.

With third-year students applying for practicum placements beginning in the final year of their program, the Practicum Agency Forum provided an opportunity for them to network and match their goals and skills with organizations from the London community.

Suzanne Book, Coordinator of Field Education in the School of Social Work, praises the forum as a beneficial experience for students and professionals to participate and learn from one another. She notes that community partners are an essential part to the success of the Social Work program.

“We rely on community partners because it is the future of social work,” says Book. “King’s graduates who end up working at these agencies and come back for this forum have a great understanding of the practicum experience and have gained practical knowledge from the field.”

Some of the community agencies present at the forum included Elgin-Oxford Legal Clinic, Thames Valley District School Board, The Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre, Addiction Services of Thames Valley, Craigwood Youth Services, Alzheimer’s Society and Women’s Community House.

Kaitlin Adlam and Dylan MacDonald, graduates of King’s School of Social Work, proudly represented Eagle’s Nest: A Place to Soar Inc., an agency providing foster care, at the forum.

“It’s a mutually beneficial experience for community agencies and students,” says Adlam. “Not only do we get to network with other agencies and meet the next batch of graduates, students can learn what each organization is like.”

MacDonald recognizes King’s as an environment that fosters networking and professional development. Since the field of social work is constantly developing, he says forums like these help professionals recruit graduates and learn about the latest trends.

A student in the Social Work program, Haley Bedard, believes that taking advantage of networking opportunities is always a valuable learning experience, especially as she prepares for her practicum.

“It’s great to see the agencies here today because there are so many services for us to get involved with,” says Bedard. “The practicum process matches us with areas that we like to learn about and gives us the accessibility to network with these organizations.”

For more information about the School of Social Work, please visit www.kings.uwo.ca/academics/school-of-social-work/