Social work students on placement in Shenzhen

Annie Sing

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May Lan, Emily Hui and Jordi Tsang, final-year students in the Associate of Social Science in Social Work programme, Division of Social Studies (DSS), are on a three-month block placement with youth organizations in the Longgang district of Shenzhen. Their departure followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Community College of City University and the Youth League of Longgang (YL) on 13 May. The collaboration demonstrates CityU's commitment to providing student-centred and quality professional education, as well as its goal of developing and strengthening ties with the mainland.


The agreement reflects shared values on professional education and social work training on both sides. The YL has undertaken to locate youth organizations for student placement and to provide students with orientation and information about the organizations. “We hope that through this opportunity our professional values and skills in social work training can reach social welfare organizations on the mainland,” Dr P Y Wong, Acting Head of DSS, said at the signing ceremony.


“The YL is the officially recognized youth community organization and is highly respected,” said Mr David Chan, Senior Lecturer of DSS. “The collaboration will be a win-win situation for both sides. The students can learn youth affairs with the YL’s full support and contribute to the district, helping the needy and sharing their social work knowledge and values with mainland institutions.”


“Shenzhen’s rapid economic development has resulted in a hefty influx of non-local young labourers seeking employment,” Mr Chan said. “With various factors contributing to conflicts, the city is fraught with social problems. I believe that the placement students will face a big challenge in tackling complicated social work tasks and will benefit from wider exposure and experience.”


The students are working with three different programmes. Emily Hui is responsible for the “Grow with Love” programme, targeting disadvantaged families and youngsters aged between 8 and 18 who lack self-confidence. She will organize small groups to enhance their self-confidence, self-image and interpersonal skills.


Jordi Tsang will be mainly in charge of the Youth Association service, which is used by non-local young labourers. He will use the Association as a platform to recruit labourers for volunteer work. Through seminars and exhibitions, he aims to promote harmony in the community and foster young people’s growth and development by reinforcing their sense of belonging in the district.


May Lan will conduct skills training sessions for the leaders of volunteer groups to upgrade their abilities in planning and coordinating volunteer work. Ms Lan is enthusiastic about exploring the structure and system of social welfare on the mainland in view of the trend towards collaboration between Hong Kong and the mainland in the social services sector.


“The fieldwork opportunity can further my understanding of social problems in Hong Kong that involve people who have recently arrived from the mainland and help me develop my professional competence in related work,” she said. “Through this opportunity, I expect to learn about management and administration and upgrade my skills in event coordination. I will also discuss with people of mainland institutions about the values and ethics of social workers in Hong Kong.”


The three students co-organized with a partner unit a day of games and discussion on 1 June, which brought together youth organizations and their clients.


Their final block placement has begun from May to 29 July, with a total of 12 weeks (480 hours). In addition to delivering theoretical knowledge in the classroom, the Associate of Social Science in Social Work programme stresses the importance of application-oriented and interactive teaching. Adopting a student-centred approach, instructors meet three students face-to-face every week to consolidate their learning.


Fieldwork must be successfully completed before graduates can become Registered Social Workers. Six students a year can choose Canada as their fieldwork location to broaden their horizons.


DSS has always used innovative approaches in teaching and learning, and emphasized practical and relevant skills to meet the changing needs of society.




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