Part-time Employment and Effects on Australian Social Work Students: A Report on a National Study
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University students, nationally as well as internationally, engage in employment to supplement income while studying. Social work students are no different in this respect. There have long been questions about whether such part-time work has an adverse impact on student academic performance. This paper explored the experiences of social work students enrolled on-campus across three Australian universities as reported through a survey and focus groups. The research found that social work students did engage in significant amounts of paid employment while studying, that there were both positives and negatives for students depending on the nature of their employment, and that compromises needed to be made in juggling competing responsibilities. Accessing and living on inadequate government benefits imposed particular stressors. The findings have implications for the ways in which social work education is structured, especially in terms of flexibility, and demonstrated that part-time work also offers opportunities for student learning.
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