Priding itself on a practical approach, the two-year Ontario College Diploma offering includes interactive learning opportunities, such as experiences in assessing communities, developing and writing funding proposals, social action plans, as well as simulated client interviews and assessments. In addition, students are engaged in a dynamic learning process with exposure to group labs, guest speakers, experiential learning, collaborative learning and inter-professional opportunities with other students. Lastly, the Social Service Worker program complements in-school lessons through two supported field placements. These are opportunities for students to go from observers and learners to workers who experience entry-level social service placements in learning environments where application and integration of the philosophy as well as function and procedure of the social service system takes place. The students are expected to demonstrate basic employability skills such as being accountable for assigned work, follow up and documentation, integration of policy, practice, values and ethics to the social issues and problems as they directly impact on the agency, their clients and the profession. Among the companies that hire Social Service Worker students after their placements are: Senior Link, Tropicana Community Services, Toronto Social Services, Touchstone Youth Services, and many more.
But what exactly does the Social Service Worker program offer in its curriculum? Through courses, such as Power, Privilege and Oppression; Social Service Work & Pathways to Practice; Social Service Work with Groups; Community Development; Social Policy; Advanced Interviewing and Counselling; and more, students reflect upon how values and ideologies contribute to the construction of social problems and prescribed solutions. They also learn to ally with people to develop and improve resources that assist people to resolve problems and enhance quality of life.
Applicants to the Social Service Worker program in Canada are required to have completed at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Students must also have completed the compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent. Non-academic requirements such as a program admission session and English proficiency are also considered. As the Social Service Worker program has a field placement component during which students obtain “real-life” experiences, a criminal reference check might be required. Certain criminal convictions may disallow placement in an agency and program completion may not be possible.