Advice for Newly Qualified Social Workers
Once you graduate, you become responsible for your own professional development. This is important because it ensures you practice safely and legally.
Depending on where in the UK you are working, you will need to follow some extra requirements and support frameworks to assist with professional development.
Newly-qualified social workers (NQSWs) must have additional support from their managers.
Although not essential, this is often provided through the Assessed and Supported Year of Employment (AYSE) programme. This gives NQSWs extra support during their first year in employment. It’s in place to help develop skills, enhance knowledge and culture professional confidence.
Newly-qualified social workers in Northern Ireland must complete a required Assessed Year in Employment (AYE). They are managed by a registered qualified social worker who provides extra support and guidance. Once successfully completing the AYE, they move onto a higher salary band.
NQSWs must complete certain levels of the Professional in Practice (PiP) post-qualifying framework within two years.
NQSWs in Wales must successfully finish a compulsory Consolidation Programme to meet the criteria of the Continuing Professional Education and Learning (CPEL) framework.
The SSSC has developed a framework. NQSWs must complete a minimum of 144 hours post-registration training and learning (PRTL). 30 of those hours are focused on how their learning has given them more knowledge of safeguarding adults and children.
Career opportunities for NQSWs
As a NQSW, you’re unlikely to become a locum social worker straight away. This is because employers need to provide extra support to newly qualified social workers; something not usually needed with an experienced locum social worker.
We would advise seeking a permanent position, which offers the support and training you need when starting out. This will increase your experience and boost your chances of obtaining a future locum position.
Maintaining your CPD
You must keep your continuing professional development (CPD) up-to-date and retain working evidence to maintain your social work registration. If you wish to take a break from social work to go travelling, then you should keep hold of records to evidence this period. Remember, candidates must provide evidence of any career breaks of one month or more.
Once you have gained experience in a social work position, Sanctuary Social Care will help you to secure your first locum post and will guide you through the entire process.
In the meantime, we have an interactive online Careers Hub which is home to a collection of useful information to assist you at every stage in your social work career. You will find useful downloads, blogs, tips on writing your CV and preparing for interview and much more.
For more tips and advice on getting into the profession, download our guide.