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NQSWs and career structures - what you told us

Social worker with service user and child. Photo: John Birdsall

Your responses to the poll in our December newsletter showed that a majority of you felt that the newly qualified social workers (NQSW) you had worked with lacked key skills when entering the workplace.

Over 200 of you said that NQSWs needed more training in 'risk analysis' followed by 123 of you stating that they needed more experience of working with different groups of service users; 94 said newly qualified workers need more training in 'assessment frameworks' whilst 64 pointed to problems with 'communication skills'.

The results of our poll reinforce the proposals of the Social Work Task Force, particularly the recommendation to introduce an assessed year in employment for new workers, and the push for high-quality placements for students on social work degrees.

In our question about introducing a clear career structure for social workers, over half of the respondents said they wanted to stay in the frontline and follow the 'Advanced Professional' route; the fewest wanted to go into management roles (21.8%). A clear career structure, including the creation of the Advanced Professional role, were amongst the recommendations made by the Social Work Task Force.

All in all, the results of the poll have given us an insight into your thoughts on these issues. As part of the Social Work Reform Board, we look forward to helping to implement the recommendations to raise the calibre of newly qualified social workers.

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As a result of individuals with substantial experience in social care entering onto a degree course in social work, It would be helpful if there could be route whereby APL could be introduced. It seems less than constructive to insist that someone with substantial experience complete two placements. It is often the case that at least one of the placements will have the adverse effect of de-skilling someone with considerable experience rather than developing the skills already gained in past experience.

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13 Mar 2010

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