Partner with us
Your organisation has the chance to help shape the future of child and family services delivery in Victoria.
Become a host organisation and be a crucial part of the educational journey of a new generation of social workers.
Register as a Host Organisation
If you’d like to join us as a host organisation, please contact the Centre’s Switch to Social Work team.
We can answer any questions, send you a registration form and outline the steps required to sign up.
P: (03) 9614 1577
About Switch to Social Work
Switch to Social Work is a new employment-based Master of Social Work (Child and Family Practice) program. It was created to address skill and workforce shortages in the child and family services sector. The program is being delivered in partnership with the Victorian Government, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, community services organisations and La Trobe University.
Switch to Social Work aims to:
- Create a highly skilled, diverse, and fit-for-purpose child and family services workforce
- Remove financial barriers to entry into social work
- Provide extensive work integrated learning opportunities
- Improve workforce capability, job readiness, employment retention, and workforce diversity
- Recruit applicants looking for a career change
- Operate throughout Victoria in metro, regional and rural locations.
To watch a recorded version of our information session for community service organisations, click here.
Becoming a host organisation
As a host organisation you will benefit from an ongoing and integrated relationship with your program participant(s) over two years. This allows organisations and participants to build a foundation for deeper learning, leading to better outcomes for clients.
Switch to Social Work is an intensive industry-based program. In addition to the mandatory 500-hour (70 days) field placement each year to obtain the Master of Social Work (Child and Family Practice) qualification, program participants will be matched with organisations and have on-the-job training to develop the skills and knowledge they need.
Eligible child and family service organisations include:
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) delivering services for children and families
- Care services including foster care, kinship care, leaving care services, permanent care, residential care, secure welfare, therapeutic residential care.
- Child Protection services delivered by the State of Victoria and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) through the Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care program
- Counselling and trauma services
- Family services
- Individual youth support services
- Parenting support and early intervention services
- Placement prevention and reunification services
- Refugee settlement services
Other related services, including Maternal and Child Health services, Family Violence services and Sexual Assault services, are not eligible for this program.
Program outline for participants
Year 1 (2024)
Commencing May 2024, participants will
- Undertake their academic studies
- Work as an unpaid intern one day per week with a host organisation (at no cost to the host organisation)
- Complete a mandatory 500-hour placement with a second organisation
- Receive a cost-of-living allowance (in Year 1 only)
Year 2 (2025)
In the second year, participants will:
- Enter a 12-month employment contract with the host organisation where they interned in Year one
- Be paid a full-time wage, at a SCHADS 3.2 equivalent level
- Work under supervision in the organisation for at least two days per week
- Complete their second mandatory 500-hour placement with the host organisation – this placement must be in a different work area from their paid work.
What’s involved for host organisations?
Host organisations need to:
- Provide a 500-hour placement in both Year 1 (2024) and 2 (2025)
- Commit to employing participant(s) in their second year, in a paid and supervised direct practice role for at least two days per week
- Provide 75% salary equal to SCHADS 3.2 (or industry equivalent) in Year 2
- Provide a supervisor for each participant (one supervisor can supervise up to four participants) (program funding available)
- Commit to providing effective supervision and participate in supervisor training
- Participate in program evaluation activities
- Provide a culturally safe and supportive environment
- In Year 2, work with La Trobe University to ensure that supervision requirements for the second field placement are met, within your organisational resources.
There is no limit to the maximum number of participants an organisation can host. Host organisations will be provided with supervisor training through La Trobe University.
You can read more about the hosting requirements in the Frequently Asked Questions below.
Funding for host organisations
Host organisations will receive a payment of $11,250 per intern to supervise participants in Year 1 (2024). As each supervisor may supervise up to four participants, it could be economical for host organisations to host four interns and receive a payment of $45,000 to cover a part time position.
In Year 2 (2025), your organisation will receive a salary subsidy of 25% to support the employment of your Switch to Social Work participant. This will include a total payment of $17,298.97 per annum, per participant and is based on the employment of a participant at a SCHADS 3.2 level on a 12-month contract. These payments will be made monthly, across two financial years.
How is Switch to Social Work different from the existing Master of Social Work program?
The Switch to Social Work program is designed for career changers. In addition to the two mandatory 500-hour placements, which also exist in other Master of Social Work programs, the Switch to Social Work program gives participants:
- An internship one day per week in the first year
- Full-time work employment in the second year (minimum of two days per week)
- Hands-on experience working in the child and family services sector
- A cost-of-living allowance in the first year
- Full tuition fee scholarship
- An industry standard salary in the second year.
How will Switch to Social Work improve service delivery in the child and family services sector?
The program aims to deliver a new cohort of advanced social work practitioners with the diverse skillset required to excel. It does this through:
- Work integrated learning placements
- Additional work experience
- Enhancing the focus on practice.
Switch to Social Work aims to increase workforce diversity by actively recruiting individuals who want to switch to a career that truly makes a difference. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants, culturally and linguistically diverse applicants, applicants who identify as LGBTQI+, and applicants with disability.
What are the field placement, internship and supportive practice requirements for host organisations?
- Field placements
Field placements must be in a direct service delivery role, and in two different organisations. This is a requirement of the Master of Social Work (Child and Family Practice) qualification. The host organisation needs to provide a field placement in Year 1 for a participant hosted by another organisation. In Year 2, the host organisation will provide the second field placement to their participant. This approach gradually introduces the participant to the organisation in Year 1 before they start work in a supervised direct practitioner role in Year 2.
Host organisations also need to provide an internship for their participant(s). In Year 1 this will be an unpaid internship. The structured work experience consists of one day per week starting in May 2024. This gives the participant(s) a sound induction to the host organisation, its role and approach to service provision in supporting children and families.
This same participant will be offered a 12-month, fixed term, full-time contract for Year 2, transitioning to a paid employee and intern of the host organisation. The contract will be paid at the level of a SCHADS 3.2 or equivalent. This gives Switch to Social Work participants in Year 2 at least 2 days per week of supervised work while completing their degree. This is a significant investment by the host organisation in the learning and development of the applied skills of their participants and the future workforce.
- Supportive practice
Host organisations must demonstrate their ability to:
- Provide a culturally safe placement and tailored supports for participants from diverse backgrounds
- Participate in the reporting and evaluation of the program
- Provide suitable supervision as per the Switch to Social Work supervision model
- Contribute to participant and employer peer group reflective practice sessions. These sessions will occur every 6 to 8 weeks for 6 sessions per year.
Who can supervise field placements and what are the supervision requirements for the program?
Field educators guide, mentor and provide clinical and reflective practice to support each participant’s learning plan.
Host organisations must nominate a qualified social worker to fulfil the field educator role. This includes 1.5 hours of supervision for every 35 hours of placement completed per participant. Field supervisors must undertake (or have already completed) training for the role. La Trobe University can provide this training if needed.
Field supervisors need to:
- Codesign a Placement Learning Plan and Assessment Report with the participants
- Meet regularly with the participants
- Provide opportunities for participants to gain exposure to and skills in child and family service delivery roles.
If your organisation cannot meet these requirements but would still like to participate in the program, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare and La Trobe University may be able to arrange alternative arrangements. Please contact the Switch to Social Work concierge services team at email@example.com for more information.
How are participants selected for the Switch to Social Work program?
This program is aimed at people who already have a bachelor’s degree but would like to switch careers and who meet the eligibility criteria, as outlined on the About the program page.
Participants are assessed on their potential to be an exceptional client practitioner and their aptitude for supporting vulnerable children and families through a series of tasks, regulatory checks, a psychometric test and interviews.
Participants are also chosen in accordance with the program’s aim of creating a more diverse child and family services workforce that better aligns with service needs.
Can organisations choose which participant is placed in their organisation?
All selected participants will have gone through a rigorous selection process designed to assess their potential and commitment to becoming a leading child and family services practitioner. Host organisations will be able to follow all normal pre-employment and onboarding procedures prior to the commencement of field placements, work experience and employment. The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare and La Trobe University will match participants and host organisations, with a dedicated concierge service to support the matching process.
What happens if I am not happy with the performance of my participant?
At any point, if you are not happy with the general performance of your participant, please contact the Switch to Social Work team.
For any issues during field placements, La Trobe University can help.
Throughout the internship, the dedicated Switch to Social Work concierge services team will meet regularly with each participant’s direct line manager to assess performance and discuss any support needed.
In Year two, participants will be paid employees and will therefore be covered by your organisation’s employment policies. The Switch to Social Work team will still be able to help if needed.
What support are participants and host organisations offered throughout the program?
Alongside the financial support provided, participants and host organisations will also have direct access to the Switch to Social Work team who will assist with any queries or questions arising through the program.
Switch to Social Work participants will receive wraparound support from the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare and La Trobe University. This includes application process support, peer support groups, professional development opportunities, guest lectures and teaching opportunities, a web portal, personalised check ins, supervision of practice, workplace matching and oversight.
Host organisations will be supported through workplace matching and oversight, and targeted supervisor training reflecting evidence-based best practice.
Is this program open to regional and rural organisations?
Yes, the program is open to community service organisations who are registered under the Victorian Children Youth and Families Act and hold a current Service Agreement with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. The program aims to have a broad range of participating organisations across metro, rural and regional Victoria.