Unconventional Practice Placements. An Italian Experience in Social Work Field Education

Maria Luisa Raineri, Martina Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unconventional practice placements (UPPs) are a type of field education in which students are given high levels of autonomy in planning and developing original projects that do not reproduce work already conducted in that context by other professionals. Examples of such non-traditional placements are documented in the UK and the USA. Drawing on quantitative data from a larger study of 311 UPPs executed between 2008 and 2014 and informal narratives from practice teachers this article, presents the Italian experience carried out in the Catholic University of Milan. Data suggest that UPPs are an effective method to develop students’ creativity, professional autonomy, and discretion. Additionally, UPPs can introduce new workplaces in contexts where professional social work was previously absent, and new ways of understanding social help.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-24
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Autonomy
  • Field education
  • Participation
  • Social work education
  • Unconventional Practice Placement,


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