Raising social work standards

Glasgow Caledonian University (CGU) has recently published their Annual Research Review 2015.
In 2014 we commissioned GCU, along with the Centre of Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS), to carry out an evaluation of the readiness for practice and the experiences of support and learning of newly qualified social workers (NQSW) during their first period of employment.
An excerpt from the Annual Research Review 2015 below highlights the findings of our readiness for practice of newly qualified social workers report:

GCU logoEducation is providing newly-qualified social workers in Scotland with a solid grounding for their profession, according to new research – the first significant study examining social workers’ preparedness for practice since 1996.

The first year after qualifying is widely recognised as being extremely important for social workers. To support the workforce in achieving the relevant knowledge and skills required to practice effectively in the field of social work, the SSSC is developing a national learning strategy of robust qualifying programmes and national post-qualifying pathways.

The SSSC promotes and regulates education and training and aims to raise the standards of practice by social service workers. It commissioned Professor Stephen Webb, Scott Grant and Lynn Sheridan to carry out an evaluation of the readiness for practice and the experiences of support and learning of newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) during their first period of employment.

The study applied a mixed-method approach that incorporated a national online survey and focus groups, collecting responses from over 200 social workers.

Nearly 80% of participants reported that education providers had provided good or adequate preparation for the realities of practice. Researchers explored readiness within focus groups and found a striking consensus emerged to support the view that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are proficient in preparing NQSWs across a wide variety of areas such as interventions, assessment skills, values, anti-oppressive/anti-discriminatory practice and understanding risk.

The new findings challenge Sir Martin Narey’s report (‘Making the education of social workers consistently effective’, 2014) suggesting that newly qualified social workers are inadequately prepared for the challenge of social work.

Mairi-Anne Macdonald, SSSC Director of Sector Development, said:

“It’s very positive to see that GCU and other universities recognising the positive contribution that the SSSC is making to the social service research agenda in Scotland. Linking research to the practise of social work is essential if we are to support the preparation of a strong and confident workforce for the future. This research, along with the research undertaken by CELCIS at the University of Strathclyde helps people understand the links between learning and work which are often seen as separate things.”

Read the reports here:

Glasgow Caledonian University Annual Research Review 2015
Readiness for practice of newly qualified social workers
CELCIS Scottish First-line Managers’ Views of Newly Qualified Social Workers’ Preparedness for Practice

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