Closing the gaps between social work practice and education

  • Date

    Mon 23 Oct 17

Our Founding Professor of Social Work, Vasilios Ioakimidis, is leading a global consultation to help close the gap between social work education and practice.

The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) has established an interim Education Commission, led by Professor Ioakimidis and Professor Mariko Kimura from Japan.

The aim of the Commission is to create a platform to discuss the question of “minimum academic standards” for social work curricula internationally. New policies will be created, based on the consultation results, which will then be presented to global social work community and international organisations like the United Nations, where the IFSW have a special consultative status. 

Professor Ioakimidis, who is also Director of our Centre for Social Work, said: “The creation of the global Education Commission is a historic step for the social work profession. It has been informed by a genuinely inclusive and forward-thinking vision, which will strengthen social work education, practice and research globally.

“We are delighted the University of Essex is at the centre of this development. This invitation, by the international social work community, to lead on the creation of the global Education Commission is a testament to the proactive, rigorous and internationally recognised work our Centre for Social Work has been engaging with.”

Ruth Stark, President of IFSW, said: “The establishment of this Commission is an important and critical journey in the development of the social work profession. In the coming years, we hope to see that in bringing the schools of social work and practitioners closer together the result will be better social work services for people and our communities.”

Dr Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary General, highlighted that “by bringing social work education and practice into one professional body we can look forward to a much stronger, more focused social work profession”. 

Professor Ioakimidis, who is primarily based at our Southend Campus, added: “In the next few months, commissioners and regional representatives will work towards developing policies and structures that are ambitious, realistic and reflect the vision of IFSW. During this process, we will be consulting widely with social work practitioners, educators and people who use social services, both at a regional and global level.”

Professor Ioakimidis joined Essex earlier this year from Durham University, where he was a senior lecturer. Previously he had held posts at the University of Nicosia-Cyprus, Zuyd University in the Netherlands, Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool University, where he completed his PhD.

His research focuses on two areas, social work practice in times of armed conflict, historical and current, and grassroots welfare movements in the context of extraordinary financial and political crisis.