Tracking the learning and development needs of newly qualified social workers.
Start date: 11 July 2007
Skills for Care South West commissioned Bournemouth University to track the learning and development needs of newly qualified social workers in the region through their first year of employment, evaluating their perceptions of the effectiveness of the degree and their induction, and track their progress towards post-qualifying education.
Two methods of data collection are being used: three questionnaires administered to newly qualified social workers over a period of six months; and one questionnaire administered to their line managers; semi-structured interviews with newly qualified social workers after completion of two questionnaires; and semi-structured interviews with people who use services and/or their carers. The project is being managed by a steering group including service users and carers, agency representatives and project staff.
Ethical approval for the project has been received from the University and approval granted by the research group of the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS). From eight participating local authorities , a total of 35 newly qualified social workers have been identified. All have been sent an information sheet, consent form and the first questionnaire.
To date, 22 newly qualified social workers, working in seven local authorities across the region, have given written informed consent to take part in the project and have completed the first questionnaire. They hold appointments in a mixture of adult (n=10) and children’s services (n=12). All were appointed to their current post between May and December 2006, hold predominantly BSc Social Work degrees from a range of five South West based universities. The majority of the sample are female, aged between 26 and 55, evenly spread across this range, and chose their current post according to client group preference.
As project work is on-going, we intend to present main preliminary findings on the perceived effectiveness of the degree in preparing social workers for employment, their organisational inductions, and their progress towards the revised post-qualifying framework. These findings will then be linked to the literature on the development of professional capability.