Conference to explore transition from student to social worker

20 January 2015

Conference to explore transition from student to social worker

The conference will give students and NQSWs an opportunity to network and discuss the transition from student to practitioner

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) will host a conference for final-year social work students and newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) from across Scotland on Thursday, January 22.

The conference, entitled ‘Shaping the future: making a successful transition from student to social worker’, will give students and NQSWs an opportunity to network and engage in discussion about the important transition from student to practitioner.

The one-day event will be held in partnership with the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS), the Scottish Association of Social Workers, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), and the Scottish Government.

Alan Baird, Chief Social Work Adviser to the Scottish Government, will address conference delegates and will take part in a panel discussion alongside GCU’s Professor Stephen Webb; Harry Stevenson, President of Social Work Scotland and Executive Director of Social Work Resources, South Lanarkshire Council; Mairi-Anne MacDonald, Director of Sector Development and SSSC Registrar; and Alison Petch, Director of IRISS.

The conference follows research carried out by GCU researchers to examine social workers’ preparedness for practice. The study, commissioned by SSSC, evaluated the readiness for practice and the experiences of support and learning of NQSWs during their first period of employment. It found that education is providing NQSWs in Scotland with a solid grounding for their profession. New social workers, however, gave a more mixed response about their early experiences with some employers, usually local authority social work departments, not offering enough in the way of supervision or induction.

Scott Grant, Lecturer in Social Work at GCU and one of the researchers who carried out the evaluation, will lead a workshop on the research findings at the event.

Other workshops, some of which will be co-facilitated by NQSWs, will explore professional identify, leadership and continuous learning for NQSWs, and a review of the social work degree.

Martin Kettle, Senior Lecturer and Programme Lead MSc in Social Work at GCU, said: “We look forward to welcoming social work students and NQSWs from across Scotland.

“The event will give them an opportunity to hear from senior leaders in the sector, debate and inform the review of the social work degree, which is currently underway, and give us a better understanding of the type of learning culture that supports social work practitioners.”

The conference can be followed via the Twitter hashtag #GCUSTF