Two-thirds of the newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) who have completed the assessed year in England would recommend it to their peers, an evaluation commissioned by Skills for Care has shown.
However, there are still issues to be resolved around workload management, supervision and the training and support of supervisors and assessors.
The evaluation found that, of those who registered on the assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) in September/October 2012, over two-thirds (67%) would now recommend it to other NQSWs.
And of the supervisors and assessors surveyed, 86% said they would recommend it to other social work organisations.
Both groups said the ASYE offered a range of benefits, the main one of which was development of professional confidence.
But the report warned that, as you would expect with any new framework, there is still work to be done. For example, when surveyed halfway through their ASYE, only two-thirds of NQSWs – including those who started the scheme in January/March 2013 – said they were receiving sufficient feedback on their progress.
Just under a third said they were not clear what they had to do to pass the final assessment.
The main issues identified over the course of the ASYE related to supervision. Just over half of NQSWs felt their experiences of reflective supervision had met their expectations – but a quarter said it “hadn’t always”.
The evaluation also noted that workloads and employer approaches to the management of workloads “vary considerably” across the country.
Most of the NQSWs started off feeling that their workload management was conducted as set out in their learning agreement, but this dropped to below half of those who had completed the ASYE year.
Supervisors and assessors also had concerns about supervision, as well as restructuring, engaging their employer and unresolved queries such as how the ASYE works with agency staff, “perhaps reflecting again the challenging background against which the ASYE was introduced,” the report’s authors noted.
Only two-fifths of supervisors felt they were getting adequate support from their employer.
The evaluation focused on the ASYE in adult services, although any actions taken as a result will be done in partnership with the Department for Education and College of Social Work, to ensure children’s social workers also benefit.
The authors spoke to 117 NQSWs and 56 supervisors and assessors. Those who had registered in September/October 2012 completed initial, interim and final questionnaires and those who registered in January/March 2013 completed the initial and interim ones.