Post-qualifying awards in social work (part 1): necessary evil or panacea?

This source preferred by Keith Brown

Authors: Brown, K. and Keen, S.

Journal: Social Work Education

Volume: 23

Pages: 77-92

ISSN: 0261-5479

DOI: 10.1080/0261547032000175719

Thousands of childcare social workers based in England and Wales need to complete the Post-Qualifying Childcare Award by 2006 if they wish to continue practising. Before commencing the Post-Qualifying Childcare Award, potential candidates must complete the Post-Qualifying Social Work Part 1 Award.

Published research on Post-Qualifying Awards in Social Work (PQSW) is scarce. Whilst Brown et al. (2001, Making a Difference: A Guide to Running Personal Social Services Training Functions, NATOPSS, Birmingham) consider the issues of running social service training functions, this paper focuses on the completion and management of Bournemouth University's generic Part 1 programme using data from 44 interviews. The main purpose of the Part 1 programme is to enable and encourage students to critically reflect on their career and practice. Barriers to and facilitators of programme completion and those factors influencing portfolio deferral are also examined. Those in charge of running the programme recognise the need for further programme development work with line and training managers, integration of PQSW within human resource strategies and the clarity and timing of programme information. Further evidence is required before PQSW may be classed as a remedy for social work's ills.

However, the programme is seen as a useful tool for candidates to demonstrate that they have improved their knowledge and skills since the point of qualification. It has also provided a method for identifying social workers who have difficulty in maintaining their professional development and who then require further training opportunities before they can be considered as appropriately skilled to undertake complex social work.

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