Many newly qualified adult social workers are allowed no time for professional development and are allocated cases regardless of their experience, according to a report by Skills for Care.
The interim report, which assessed the NQSW framework in adults’ services from April 2009 to March 2010, found nine in 10 enjoyed their jobs and felt they made a difference to service users.
But one-third said they were not allowed protected time for professional development, which could include opportunities to shadow more experienced workers. For those who were, workload demands often interfered.
Two-thirds said their level of experience was rarely, if ever, taken into account when cases were allocated.
Other complaints included insufficient direct observation of practice: 43% said this never happened.
Overall, the feedback on supervision and training was positive, with three-quarters of NQSWs attending a monthly supervision meeting with their line manager.
Skills for Care launched the NQSW framework in 2009 to smooth the transition for newly qualified practitioners moving into the adult care workforce.
More than four in 10 of the NQSWs who took part in the evaluation agreed that the framework had helped them to develop their practice, but three in 10 disagreed.
A similar programme for children’s social workers, run by the Children’s Workforce Development Council, is in its third year.
The outcomes of both initiatives will be fed into the development of an assessed year in employment, which could be introduced by some employers from as early as 2012.
The Social Work Reform Board wants the assessed year to replace the existing support programmes for NQSWs as part of its overhaul of the training system in England.
Skills for Care’s final report on the NQSW framework is due in March 2011. The CWDC is due to publish interim findings from its own evaluation.
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