Once you graduate, you have responsibility for your own professional development. By continually developing your professional skills, you ensure you continue to practice safely and legally as a social worker. There are some extra requirements and support frameworks for newly-qualified social workers depending on the country you’re practicing in.

England

Newly-qualified social workers have a reduced caseload and additional support from their managers.

The Assessed and Supported Year of Employment (ASYE) is a non-compulsory course for newly-qualified social workers in England to develop and improve. The Department of Education funds ASYE for social workers working in children’s and family services, and Skills for Care funds adult services.

Many universities partner with employers to offer postgraduate master courses aimed as providing development for social workers.

Unlike other specialisms, social workers specialising in mental health will work to a post-qualifying award structure.

BASW mentoring scheme

The BASW mentoring scheme was set up in 2011 to support newly-qualified social workers (NQSWs) in England who haven’t been able to find employment as a social worker. As part of the scheme, we’ve also helped social workers get back in to social work after a career break and those with overseas social work qualifications find jobs. To join the scheme, you must be a BASW member and be registered with the HCPC. Contact us for more information.

Northern Ireland

Newly-qualified social workers in Northern Ireland must complete a compulsory Assessed Year in Employment (AYE) where you are supervised by a registered qualified social worker who provides extra support and guidance. After successful completion of the AYE you’ll move onto a higher salary scale. Northern Ireland has a post-qualifying framework for social workers called the Professional in Practice (PiP). Newly-qualified social workers are required to complete certain levels of PiP within two years.

Wales

Newly-qualified social workers in Wales must complete a compulsory Consolidation Programme as part of the Continuing Professional Education and Learning (CPEL) framework, which outlines the education requirements for all levels of experience.

Scotland

The SSSC has developed a framework and provide guidance to ensure newly-qualified social workers complete post-registration training and learning (PRTL). This includes a minimum of 144 hours (30 of these hours must focus on how learning has contributed to the protection of children and adults from harm).

Induction, caseload protection and supervision are currently the responsibility of employers. However, Scotland is the process of developing a probationary year for newly-qualified social workers following the ‘Review of Social Work Education’.

All social services workers are expected to follow the Continuous Learning Framework (CLF) to pursue continuous improvement and development.