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AASW Student Placements:The Sustainable Development Goals

The AASW and the SDGs

It is the AASW’s position that the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a vital mechanism through which we can collectively address some of the biggest challenges currently facing Australia, and the world, with a particular focus on human rights, social and environmental justice. Social workers are deeply committed to human rights and sustainability. It forms the basis of our professional values and provides a framework through which we can better understand what the people we work with are experiencing and what we are collectively working towards.

The AASW represents thousands of social workers who are on the front line of human rights protection and it is their daily work to ensure that every individual is free from discrimination and inequality, and in doing so collaboratively foster sustainable and resilient communities. As such we are key partners in assuring that the principles and aspirations of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other international conventions derived from that Declaration have meaning in the daily lives of all Australians.

In line with our strategic plan the AASW is deeply commitment to working towards a sustainable and socially just environment through individual, cultural and structural change. The AASW achieves this through our continued policy and advocacy work at all levels of government, and internationally through the International Federation of Social Workers. The AASW ‘Code of Ethics’ underlines the important role that social workers and the AASW have in working towards equitable societies by advocating for inclusive, sustainable and effective social policy. Advocacy is a core skill of the social work profession and has been since the profession’s very beginning and the SDGs provide another medium through which we continue this tradition.

Through policy practice and direct advocacy, the AASW is working towards achieving the SDG 2030 targets locally and internationally. Our work through submissions, engaging with ministers, media advocacy and direct action has focused on a wide range of issues including: mental health, child protection and wellbeing, family violence, housing, Indigenous rights, refugees, poverty and income support, environmental justice and disability to name a few.

You can learn more about the AASW’s work including the recent submission to the Federal government’s SDG inquiry, on our website.

AASW Student Placement: The Sustainable Development Goals 2019

The AASW provides placement opportunities for social work students to learn and take part in our policy and advocacy work. Field education is a core component of Australian professional social work education. It is a cooperative endeavour between the higher education provider, the student, agencies and field educators to assist the integration of theory and practice.

In 2019, the AASW is partnering with RMIT University and the social work studio placement will have a significant SDG focus in both reviewing how the association is progressing in achieving the Goals and identifying opportunities for future action. The placement uses a studio pedagogy that focuses on collaboration, problem solving and exploring new possibilities for action.

The AASW SDG placement consists of two major phases.

Phase 1: AASW SDG Review (Voluntary Local Audit)

Students in groups will undertake a comprehensive review of the AASW, with a focus on the policy and advocacy actions, and identify how they align with the 17 Goals and 169 targets.

This will include:

  • Researching the Goals and their relevance to the social work profession
  • Conduct an analysis of the AASW Policy and Advocacy actions and report on how they contribute on achieving the Goals.
  • Aiding in the development of a report and other materials for the broader social work professional community on the review and outcomes
  • Identify opportunities to raise awareness about the SDGs to the social work professional community

Phase 2: AASW SDG Action

The second phase builds on the learnings from the first phase and looks to identify future opportunities for action. The initial review would have identified key areas where the AASW is contributing to achieving the Goals and areas that need greater focus.

Students will be tasked with:

  • Completing an analysis of which of the Goals the AASW is not contributing to and are within our scope of action and available resources.
  • Present to the AASW Policy and Advocacy team a report with recommendations for future actions and projects the AASW can undertake to achieve these Goals
  • Depending on time, begin to implement the proposed projects.

AASW SDG Report: Voluntary Local Audit

The report is available here.

AASW Student Placement: The Sustainable Development Goals 2020

The AASW provides placement opportunities for social work students to learn and take part in our policy and advocacy work. Field education is a core component of Australian professional social work education. It is a cooperative endeavour between the higher education provider, the student, agencies and field educators to assist the integration of theory and practice.

In 2020, the AASW will continue to partner with RMIT University and the social work studio placement will have a significant SDG focus in both reviewing how the association is progressing in achieving the Goals and identifying opportunities for future action. The placement uses a studio pedagogy that focuses on collaboration, problem solving and exploring new possibilities for action.

We will provide more information shortly.

Further queries

If you have any questions about the placement contact AASW Senior Policy Advisor Dr Sebastian Cordoba Sebastian.cordoba@aasw.asn.au

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers