Demonstrate an understanding of the emergence and development of a professional/occupational group and its main changes and achievements in terms of policy, professional status, power, education and influence.

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Unit title & code

ASS066-1 Understanding the Human Services

Assignment number and title

Assignment 1 – Formal Essay

Assignment type

Outline the development of a human service profession/occupation from its inception to the current day, providing an analysis of its key moments, i.e. emergence, development and possible changes over time.

Weighting of assignment


Size or length of assessment

1500 words 

Unit learning outcomes

1) Demonstrate an understanding of the emergence and development of a professional/occupational group and its main changes and achievements in terms of policy, professional status, power, education and influence.


2) Analyse the relationship between a professional/occupational group and a service-user group with a protected characteristic (age, sex, sexual orientation, religion and belief, race and ethnicity, gender reassignment, marriage and partnership, disability, pregnancy and maternity).

Assignment 1 is a 1500-word essay where you demonstrate knowledge, understanding and analysis of the foundations, development and changes of a human service profession/occupation, with particular focus on policy and regulation, occupational closure strategies, status and power position in relation to other related professions/occupations, the job market and society. You should also look at the successes and the downfalls of the professional/occupational group chosen. You can choose a human service profession/occupation such as:

  • Health Visitor
  • Social Worker
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Child Abuse worker
  • Police Officer
  • Probation Officer
  • Medical Doctor
  • Psychologist
  • Speech Therapist
  • Nursing
  • Midwifery


The essay must incorporate the following: 

(1) A description of the main duties, responsibilities and tasks of the chosen professional/occupational group and the types of service it provides.

(2) A review of the literature on how and why this professional/occupational group emerged. You must look at literature and research on your chosen professional/occupational group. Here you are focusing on the historical emergence and development of your chosen professional/occupational group, bringing together (summarising) what different studies and authors say. You should not describe one study after another e.g. simply have one paragraph saying study X says this, followed by a paragraph saying study Y says that, and so on. 

(3) An analysis of relevant policy and legislation of your chosen professional/occupational group, assessing whether they are meeting the needs of your chosen professional/occupational group. A place to start your search would be the Department of Health

( and for policies prior to 2014 (*/

(4) Address changes to society which might be linked to the emergence, development and/or changes to your chosen professional/occupational group over time.

(5) Address the successes and downfalls of the professional/occupational role selected.

Demonstrate an understanding of the emergence and development of a professional/occupational group and its main changes and achievements in terms of policy, professional status, power, education and influence.

(6) An evidenced, reasoned and argued overall conclusion, as well as recommendations for the well-maintenance of the professional/occupational group selected.  

(7) You are expected to draw on both academic texts and academic journals to support your discussion.  The use of a minimum of five (5) sources is required to pass – of these a minimum of three (3) sources should be academic books or academic journals. Note: the 5 is a minimum – students are encouraged to carry out wider reading.  Additionally, accessing government reports and policies is expected; however, these are not included in the 3 minimum academic sources required to pass.

(8) Your writing must be in essay format as outlined below and include all sections listed:

a) Title page – you can use the assignment title, or you can make up your own title.  

b) Introduction to your chosen professional/occupational group – in the introduction you introduce the topic and state what the aims and objectives of your essay are. You outline what the paper will discuss in a structured way. You will say this paper will discuss X, Y and Z. 

c) Body – this is where you outline in general what is known about your professional/occupational group, i.e. it gives a background to your essay, introducing the topic. You are giving an overview of what has been said in books, journals, reports, etc. on your chosen professional/occupational group – i.e. How and why did it emerge? What are its main duties/tasks/responsibilities/jurisdiction? What has its status and power position been in relation to other related professional/occupational groups? What is known about the professional/occupational group chosen? Who are the key writers and what do they say? Has the professional/occupational group undergone major changes? If yes, in what way? In this section you should also discuss policy and regulation. You can also use studies from other countries or compare the dynamics of the same professional/occupational group across countries.

d) Conclusion and recommendations - your recommendations towards the well-maintenance of the professional/occupational group selected are based on any issues highlighted in the studies you included in your paper and in your body section.   e) References

(9) As with ALL your written assignments, you must use the Harvard system of referencing to cite your sources in the body of your paper. Please pay attention to the referencing guidelines on secondary referencing. 

(10) In all cases, in-text citations must match up with what appears in your reference list. Every in-text citation should correspond to a reference on the list at the end (and vice versa). An exception is when you cite a secondary source that you read about in a primary one.

In that case only the primary source (the source you actually read) should appear in the list of references. Make sure you use the `cited in’ expression in the text if you use secondary referencing.

(11) Remember good written communication is about structuring your work so that your writing is clearly signposted and developed and you guide the reader logically from one section/subsection to the next. 

(12) Your Essay should be a continuous narrative and therefore without sub-headings.

(13) No more than 5 –10% of the assignment should be in the form of quotations.

(14) Proofread and edit your work before handing it in and/or ask a trusted person to read it through for you.                     

(15) Your work must be word processed, double spaced and page numbered. You must also include a word count. This is part of the assignment guidelines/task, so you are expected to follow these instructions.

(16) Please enter your student ID number as part of your title when uploading and submitting to BREO and put your student number (not name) on your work. For example, name you upload something like 10902888_Understanding_Human_Services_assignment_1 where 10902888 is your student number.

(17)   Ensure you put your student number on your work but DO NOT put your name on your work. Demonstrate an understanding of the emergence and development of a professional/occupational group and its main changes and achievements in terms of policy, professional status, power, education and influence.

What do I need to do to pass? (Threshold Expectations from UIF)

You will need to evidence knowledge and understanding of how a human service or helping profession has evolved in an essay.

How do I produce high quality work that merits a good grade?


How does this assignment relate to what we are doing in scheduled sessions?

Your lectures and seminars will focus on theory of the professions and the emergence and changes of the service society and the human service professions/helping professions over time. 

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