Majority of newly qualified social workers struggle to find time for training

Social workers at all levels have felt the impact of cuts to the number of support staff in their teams, according to the latest research. Meanwhile newly qualified practitioners are seeing a squeeze on their training and supervision.

Almost nine out of 10 newly qualified social workers find it difficult to fit training and professional development in around other demands on their time, a survey has revealed.

Half of the 117 newly-qualified respondents to Liquid Personnel’s survey of social workers said their current caseload was “unmanageable”, while 88% said they found it hard to fit in training and 63% felt they did not receive enough supervision.

“We risk having a generation of practitioners whose development is stunted and who are more experienced at filling in forms rather than what they joined the profession to do – working with people,” warned Jonathan Coxon, managing director of Liquid Personnel.

The recruitment agency’s wider survey, which received more than 600 responses in total, found 67% of social workers have seen cuts to administrative and support posts in their teams over the last 12 months.

“We still have the same amount of cases in our team, but less workers and less admin support,” said one local authority social worker, based in the Midlands. “The time we spend with families in direct work has reduced significantly. Now in essence we see them the bare minimum, just so the stats are ok.”

Among the managers who responded, 94% agreed that cuts to support staff had hindered their team’s ability to work effectively.

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