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2012 Student/NQSW survey launched – £50 Amazon prizes up for grabs

Students and newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) could win one of six £50 Amazon vouchers if they take part in BASW’s 2012 annual survey of their experiences of training, supervision and employment.

The survey follows a similar study in 2011, and is again organised with the University of Plymouth and the University of Northumbria.

Last year’s survey centred on the impact of the Social Work Reform Board’s recommendations for practitioners in England (see summary of findings below), a theme also pursued in 2012 – are the recommendations having an impact or are students and NQSWs operating in similar conditions to a year ago?

Please take the 2012 survey here, and make sure you are entered into the Amazon voucher prize draw … https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YN5625Y

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The 2011 survey

The 2011 student conference, held in London, was used to gather early indications on how students and NQSWs perceive training, work and professional development issues in the light of the Social Work Reform Board’s recommendations published in December 2010.

Headline findings from the 2011 survey, completed by 263 people
Training routes:
• Two-thirds of respondents were from under-graduate training programmes and the remainder (37%) from post-graduate routes.

• The early expectation that degree level qualification would reduce the age profile of training programmes was not borne out by this sample in which 16% were aged between 20-24 years and 21% were 45 years or over.

• The GSCC bursary was the major source of funding for trainees, although 19% of respondents had been supported by secondment arrangements.

Into the workplace:
• Placement experiences and geographical proximity were important factors in respondents preferences for decisions about work. This has the clear implication for potential employers that offering good placement experiences and drawing on the pool of social work graduates in a locality are key issues in attracting and retaining the best staff.

The Social Work Taskforce identified six key working conditions as essential for good support for social workers: enough time for direct work; the right working environment; appropriate ICT systems and equipment; meaningful professional support; and access to learning and evidence
• Between 50% – 60% of respondents were ‘fairly satisfied’ or better with their experiences of each of these elements.

• Lack of sufficient time for direct work and appropriate ICT systems and equipment remained the areas in which most dissatisfaction was reported (35% and 31% respectively).

• Men were more likely to report dissatisfaction than women.

• There appeared to be diminishing levels of satisfaction according to career stage, from first year student to second year employee.

• Despite a recommendation to complete, review and publish an annual ‘health check’ to assess the practice conditions and working environment of the organisation’s social work workforce, only 6% of respondents had been invited to take part in such an assessment.

Supervision:
• Asked to estimate the time spent on the four key elements of effective supervision set out in the Standards for Employers and Supervision Framework, respondents reported that most time (38%) was spent on issues related to caseloads and workload management, followed by the quality of decision-making and interventions (26%), with the remainder divided almost equally between line management & accountability issues (18%) and further personal learning, career & development opportunities (16%). Nearly half of respondents (47%) reported spending less than 10% of supervision on this latter element.

• Nearly two-thirds (63%) were ‘fairly satisfied’ or better with the professional support offered to them through their supervision arrangements.

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Once again, please make sure you complete the 2012 survey