Going Beyond a Tale of Two Sectors: A Reflective Career Planning Toolkit for Social Work Students

Jack Nicholls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


This paper seeks to make the case that social work students would benefit from thinking beyond the binary of statutory sector vs voluntary sector when thinking about their future career. It argues instead that they should think in terms of their own philosophical worldview, their own preferences in terms of the mechanics of day-to-day practice, and the reasons for those preferences. Drawing on reflection literature, Johns’ Model of Reflection (2017) and an element of Motivational Interviewing, and informed by a value pluralist perspective, the paper sets out a reflective process for social work students to use. The process supports students firstly to explore their own core values and worldview, then to consider their feelings about more practical aspects of the social work role, and finally to find the connections and possible dissonances between the two. It is hoped that the article and the reflective process here advanced can contribute to students being able to plan for their professional futures in a way that does not depend principally on having to choose between statutory or voluntary sector practice, but on a much wider array of factors and values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number2
Early online date20 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2020


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