Values and Motivations in BA Students of Social Work: the Italian Case
Keywords:social work students, motivation, cultural models, social images of social work, education
The aim of this research was to investigate what are the main characteristics of Social Work students in a context such as that of Italy, marked by radical changes both in the education and in welfare systems. In particular, we want to explore the value systems students refer to and what motivates their choice, but also what image these undergraduates have of social work.
This was done through a nationwide research project carried out by using a structured questionnaire distributed in all Italian Universities that offer a Social Work Degree to students enrolled in the 1st year of the BA course in Social Work. It was completed by almost all the BA students (nearly 2000 students).
The data analyzed with the research tool SSP confirm, firstly, that female students are still numerically dominant and that values of social solidarity prevail. Secondly, it shows that students have very high expectations in relation to their future profession but under-estimate the role attributed to specific competences, elements that make satisfactory training of fundamental importance. Finally, considerations on how the education process has to develop a critical and self reflective attitude in the students will be presented.