Social work students graduating in England after September 2012 could be expected to complete an assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) within four years of leaving university.
Under plans published by the Social Work Reform Board, newly qualified practitioners would be expected to complete the ASYE within 12 months. This timeframe could be relaxed in cases of unsatisfactory progress or to include any absences from employment, but should not extend beyond four years after graduation.
It is hoped the ASYE will succeed the existing programmes of support for newly qualified social workers next year.
The board is yet to decide whether graduates wishing to begin their ASYE more than two years after leaving university would need to show that their skills and knowledge were up to date.
Two possible models for assessment have been put forward: either jointly by employers and higher education institutions, or by employers but with the potential for optional “add-on” elements assessed by higher education partners.
Between now and March 2012, Skills for Care and the Children’s Workforce Development Council will explore with employers how a sector-wide approach to assessment could operate.
The reform board is developing the ASYE on the basis that social work degree students would continue to register after graduation.
It is still considering whether to advise the government to allow the Health Professions Council (HPC) to introduce a form of interim registration for NQSWs who have not yet completed the assessed year.
“If the government were to agree to links to regulation, the timescales involved in making such changes probationary, conditional or interim registration would not be available by September 2012. It is therefore a longer-term milestone,” said the board.
In the meantime, the reform board, College of Social Work and the HPC are exploring options for a sector-wide record of achievement, which could be available on successful completion of the ASYE.
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