Government Adviser calls for probationary year for NQSWs

22 January 2015

Government Adviser calls for probationary year for NQSWs

Alan Baird presents to social workers and students

Alan Baird, Chief Social Work Adviser to the Scottish Government, has called for a probationary year for newly qualified social workers following research carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers examining social workers’ preparedness for practice.

The study, commissioned by the Scottish Social Services Council, found that education is providing newly qualified social workers (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.

Mr Baird said: “I believe the time is right for a more formal protection for those just coming out of university. Too many people get thrown in the deep end. GCU’s research showed the inconsistencies of experiences people had. How do we bring about consistencies in the first year of practice?”

He said that performance review had become more challenging under the Care Inspectorate, and called for better evidence-based practice and strategic action spanning the workforce, performance review and promoting public understanding of social services.

Mr Baird said the Scottish Government supported the building of a “cohesive and professional sector” but there was a “risk of social work’s position in Scotland being weakened”.

The Scottish Government aims to publish its new vision and strategy for Scotland’s social work sector on World Social Work Day on March 17. This will follow agreement of the recommendations in February by the Social Work Services Strategic Forum.

He made the comments to final-year social work students and newly qualified social workers from across Scotland at the ‘Shaping the Future’ event at GCU today (Thursday, January 22).

The conference gave students and NQSWs an opportunity to network and engage in discussion about the important transition from student to practitioner.

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


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