In some unsurprising but still welcome news, Community Care reports that the Social Work Taskforce is proposing a ‘qualifying year’ post degree and pre-registration to all social workers coming into the workforce from university.
It makes perfect sense and it’s amazing that it was not a check that was brought in with the new degrees which placed less emphasis on pre-qualification experience in the social care sector.
It is a useful and necessary check that does not leave the universities as sole arbiters as to whether a student is ‘good enough’ to practice as a qualified social worker.
I will, of course, be interested to see details about how the application process works for these ‘qualifying years’ and how the local authorities engage with the it. Hopefully, it will offer newly trained social workers a chance and opportunity to learn and grow as practitioners in a safer environment than being thrown straight into practice. I know I’d definitely have benefited from it although I was lucky to move straight into a supportive and large team with other newly qualified workers including others from the same university course – perhaps that made it a lot easier to ask questions and learn from each other as we went. I think it might have been more challenging in an environment where asking questions and supervision was not given appropriate time and consideration.
Looking at the people I qualified with (those that I remained in touch with!) – those of us who had the more supportive first employment experiences have certainly stayed ‘in the field’ a lot longer than those who were ‘thrown into the deep end’ regardless of pre-qualification experience. Even without my very random personal experiences, it makes most sense that the better supported newly qualified staff are, the more effective the profession will become over the next few years.
In the meantime I’m looking forward to the publication of the final report from the Taskforce – due early December according to the same Community Care report.