GSCC poll of social workers reveals training flaws

Most social workers think their newly qualified colleagues lack the training and skills needed to enter the profession, according to a survey by the General Social Care Council.

Of more than 500 respondents to a poll in Social Work Connections, the GSCC’s newsletter for social workers and students, 93% said newly qualified workers needed more training.

When asked in which area, 215 said risk analysis, 123 said experience of working with different groups of service users, 94 said assessment frameworks and 64 said communication skills.

Rosie Varley, chair of the GSCC, said the findings reinforced the need for an assessed year in practice, as proposed by the Social Work Task Force in its final report in December.

She said: “Proper supervision, training and assessment result in practitioners who are skilled, competent and capable of dealing with the complexities of social work.”

The poll also asked social workers and students to indicate which of three possible career paths they would choose: advanced professional, practice educator and social work manager.

The taskforce said these three top-level positions should be created as part of a single, nationally recognised career structure.

Over half (332) of those who responded to the question said they would prefer to stay at the frontline and follow the advanced professional route.

About 140 said they would become a practice educator, but only 132 said they would opt for a manager role.

Janet Foulds, a service manager in children’s services in Derby and former chair of the British Association of Social Workers, said the need for advanced professionals was “particularly pertinent” in the current climate.

“Good social work practice flourishes when there is a stable, well-trained workforce and where social workers can stay in frontline practice long enough to become experts in their own field.”

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