19 July 2012

Social Work a Growing Profession

Social Work a Growing Profession

Press Statement – For Immediate Release

Berne, 19th July 2012

‘Significant numbers of people are joining the social work profession as governments and communities recognize the importance of employing professionals to support social wellbeing and sustainable cohesive communities’, said Dr Rory Truell, Secretary-General of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), speaking after the close of the world conference on social work and social development held last week in Stockholm, Sweden.

Bringing together around 2,500 participants, the conference examined the global agenda for social work and social development and illustrated the growing self-confidence and commitment of professional social workers.  The determination to work across the world to support humane and creative solutions to the global economic crisis was clearly evident.

The IFSW General Meeting, also held in Stockholm, admitted 14, new national social work organizations into membership, including six from Africa, five from the Asia-Pacific region including two in the Middle East, and two from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dr Rory Truell commented that the growth of professional social work was not surprising: ‘All around the world, governments recognize the important role social work plays in supporting social foundations and healthy systems that are the cornerstone of productive and functioning economies.  They see the value in investing in social cohesion’ he said. ‘It is only in the western economies, committed to ‘austerity’, that social programmes are under major pressure, although even there the crucial role of social workers in dealing with social crisis is recognised’, he continued.

The growth of professional social work in countries like India and China and across Africa is multiplying the numbers of professional social workers. The Beijing Health Authorities recently announced that they expect 1.4 million social workers to be active in China by the year 2020, for example. IFSW is organizing a major conference in South Africa next year to enable the swelling numbers of African social workers to voice their perspectives on development and managing social challenges.

Dr Truell said, ‘We welcome the many new perspectives, insights and experiences of social workers from around the globe. Each time a new member/country successfully meets the membership criteria, the profession as a whole gets stronger.  Despite our diverse backgrounds social workers are bound together by shared professional ethics and a strong set of principles.  Central to these principles is the commitment to assisting people to access, develop and make creative use of resources and personal capabilities within their families and communities, helping them to respond to personal and societal challenges’.

IFSW is the worldwide organisation representing social work. It comprises more than 100 member organisations/countries and sets global policies and standards for the profession. IFSW also advocates a social work perspective inside the United Nations and within other global bodies. For further information see: www.ifsw.org


For additional information contact IFSW Policy and Communications Officer:  René Schegg rene.schegg@ifsw.org, Telephone (+41) 22 548 36 25