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Building capacity for service user and carer involvement in social work education

Requirements set out for the social work degree and post‐qualifying framework specify the involvement of service users and carers on a number of levels. Research indicates that service user and carer involvement can benefit students, professionals and service users and carers themselves. To keep up with demands placed on service users and carers by higher education institutions and other social work bodies, the issue of capacity needs to be addressed. This paper describes a programme (Getting Involved) designed by Skills for Care to build capacity to participate among service users and carers new to social work education. It describes the experience of piloting the programme in Dorset by a team at Bournemouth University consisting of service users and carers and staff from the Centre for Post‐Qualifying Social Work. Getting Involved is a welcome development and the outcomes of the pilot have been extremely positive for all involved. The process of undertaking and evaluating the pilot raised issues concerning setting up programmes, project management, service users and carers as co‐researchers and sustainability. These are discussed in terms of our experience and how they link with the literature. Lessons learnt and implications for similar work in the future are highlighted.

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Social Work Education (The International Journal)

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