The newly qualified social worker pilot programmes set up by Skills for Care and the Children’s Workforce Development Council’s emphasise the importance of a good induction.
They hope you will be warmly welcomed and provided with a well-structured, carefully planned induction experience that responds to your individual needs. Yet, experience tells us, you are just as likely to be offered a “baptism of fire” that leaves you to your own devices.
This is one of the reasons why you should view induction as your professional responsibility, and be pro-active in managing it so that it provides a firm foundation for your future practice.
Induction has four broad dimensions: establishing relationships with your immediate team and supervisor; building relationships with those who will support your practice both within and outside the organisation; clarifying your role and responsibilities and any procedures you must follow; and identifying and mobilising resources to support you in your role
Record essential information
First off, you will need to identify who you need to meet, and draw up an induction plan. Initially you may be overwhelmed by the number of people you meet and the amount of information you have to take in, so establish an “induction file” to record essential information.
Be aware too that your new work environment is likely to have informal as well as a formal culture – while you will need to follow procedures it is often just as important to know who in the organisation makes things happen and who to go to for advice.
It is likely that during your induction your practice and progress will be evaluated with your supervisor at a number of review points. These are usually pulled together as a formal judgment about your performance and conduct to make up the outcome of your probation. But remember, probation is as much about you deciding if the job is right for you.
It will be important for you to build relationships with those who support your practice, in particular your immediate team and supervisor. Supervision is a focal point where key components of the service meet and all relationships are co-ordinated.
Good supervision, whether it comes from your line manager or senior practitioners, will be essential to your effective practice, personal development and welfare, and requires commitment, respect and honesty from all participants if it is to be of benefit to service-users, the organisation and you.
● This article is based on Chapter 3 of Newly Qualified Social Workers: A Handbook for Practice, £20, by Ivan Gray.
➔ Skills for Care and CWDC have published the supervision standards that managers and professionals should be working to
➔ Quote voucher code LM19 and save £3 when you order a copy of the NQSW handbook online
➔ For more advice
This article is published in the 17 September 2009 edition of Community Care under the headline “Managing induction, probation and supervision”