Despite historical and contemporary ambivalence (Banks, 2004) towards professionalisation, it is a de facto reality in both youth work and community work. Professionalisation is manifested, in part, by a concern with standards of, and criteria for, initial professional education and training programmes at third level, including requirements for supervised fieldwork. Little is known about the experiences,practices, and perceptions of fieldwork supervisors in these contexts (Spencer and McDonald, 1998). The mapping exercise documented in two parts (part two appears in the next issue) was undertaken as part of a larger scale practice research project designed to generate knowledge about supervisors’ practice experiences. Part one firstly explores supervision in the social professions, highlighting its three-fold focus on accountability, learning and support. Secondly, fieldwork practice is examined with particular reference to the development of reflective practice.