The professional practical work experience forms an integral part of CARITAS education. It is a compulsory subject and accounts for approximately one third of the curriculum. The work experience is carefully conceived as to its structure and content; from the initial one-week study visit to facilities of residential social services to the continuous two-month-long internship. Students may choose from more than 200 institutions and facilities both at home and abroad. The work experience takes place in non-governmental non-profit organizations (e.g. facilities within the CARITAS network), as well as in public service and administrative institutions. Tutoring provided to the students over the course of their practical work experience is a continuous process beginning with their admission to the school and ending with their graduation exam.
Ensuring 360° quality: by means of this process, the student is directed in the right path towards good practice in social and humanitarian work. Throughout their study, students are advised and guided by tutor and a teacher of the work experience in lectures provided by the college, a mentor provided by the particular workplace and an internal/external supervisor. Each of these professionals has their unique role and specific responsibility; however, their shared endeavor, in cooperation with the student, is to set appropriate goals for the particular student’s professional and personal development, to monitor and support his/her progress, to evaluate the actual achievement of their particular goals and to interlink the studies with practice. The school provided the cooperating organizations with all information in printed and in electronic version as well. There is a supervision connected with analyzes of student’s theoretic preparation and needs of the world of work, and many activities motivating all stakeholders. As a service for students, there is a database of domestic and foreign placement providers on the college web.
What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?
Practical training is a part of long term policy of the school and and instrument to improve the quality of teaching according to needs of the practical world and clients of social services. Impact of the project: Quality ensuring 360°. Clear system including all stakeholders
What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?
There is a supervision connected with analyzes of student’s theoretic preparation and needs of the world of work, and many activities motivating
all stakeholders. Quality changes are connected with Center for Placements existence, which is partly financially supported from EU programs, and partly by own school resources. EU - „Guide for Practical Placements“ and methodology for all stakeholders has been produced here.
What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?
Center for Placements existence, which is partly financially supported from EU programs,
There is a question if the school has financial resources, when the project is over,
Challenge: There is a tendency to get international as much as possible.
Feasibility & Sustainability
What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?
Rate of sustainability is high. The routine work with database of partners and communication with them is needed. Mentors' training in firms and external lecturers at school as well.
Replicability & Upscaling
What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?
It is possible to use this methodology in the whole social services area, it is necessary to implement it individually for concrete schools, „Center for Placements“ managed by a special teacher, is a very important condition for the ensuring of quality and money for their existence. Guide to practical education for students, for tutors from the college and for mentors. CARITAS is involved in many non-profit activities connected with practical social work in the Czech Republic, structured processes covering all stakeholders.
What would have facilitated an earlier and/or bigger impact? What are the key features that should be kept in mind if this would have to be implemented again? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? What could have been done better?
Better dissemination among other social care schools, sharing of project outputs. It can be used and it already used for the European social care schools, more international dimension in different areas – student internships abroad, teacher exchanges, attendance and participation of pedagogues at international conferences, foreign guest lectures at the College, exchange and transfer of know-how and innovations.
Please provide some information about the context and initial situation that can help in fully understanding the action (e.g. information about the national system, applying regulations, etc.)
CARITAS is involved in many non-profit activities connected with practical social work in the Czech Republic and professional association of social care workers it cooperates with. International dimension is manifested in different areas of projects CARITAS is involved in.