Placement Factors that Influence the Well-Being of Social Work Interns Participating in a Graduate Internship Programme
Keywords:graduate internship programme, social work, social work intern, well-being
This study is interested in the well-being of graduate social work interns who participated in the 12-month graduate internship programme initiated by the Department of Social Development for social work bursary holders as part of a retention strategy in South Africa. The article centres on the way in which the well-being of these social work interns was influenced by external and internal factors. The research was done by means of a qualitative descriptive design. Purposive sampling was used to select 22 participants with whom semi-structured interviews were conducted. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings indicated that the well-being of the social work interns was influenced by the workplace and at economic, emotional and psychological levels. Shortcomings in the workplace and a lack of resources influenced these interns’ well-being at their workplace. Financial obligations and expenses had an impact on their economic well-being and caused stress. This financial stress was caused by unplanned expenditure and the costs of transport, accommodation and food. The interns’ emotional and psychological well-being was influenced by their placements, their ability to adapt to new circumstances, and collegial relations. Mental health issues were experienced, which influenced their productivity. The findings of the project engender the recommendations that interns be more involved in their placements and provided with accommodation and appropriate workplaces. It is essential to orient new intakes and to increase their stipend.
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