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Hampshire County Council

In the spotlight

‘Newly qualified social workers need to thrive rather than just survive’

Hampshire County Council's Steph How and chief social worker Isabelle Trowler at the Social Work in the South event

A sponsored feature from Hampshire County Council

Assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) programmes need to be more than a chore for newly qualified social workers to endure, attendees at the first-ever Social Work in the South event heard earlier this month.

The event – hosted by Hampshire County Council – saw more than 200 children’s social workers gather in Winchester for a day of tailored workshops, talks from industry leaders and best practice discussions with peers from local authorities across the south of England.

The workshops included an examination of the key ingredients of successful ASYE programmes delivered by Hampshire Council’s Lisa Willis, Portsmouth City Council’s Roland Bryant and Southampton City Council’s Kate Bohan.

During the workshop, Willis homed in on the ‘elephant in the room’ when it came to ASYE support.

Start your career the right way

“The ASYE is about starting social workers’ careers in the right way,” she told delegates. “It’s not about re-training, re-learning or picking up on what higher education institutions have missed. It’s about developing you to be the social worker you want to be and the social worker your manager and organisation wants you to be.”

Willis and her colleagues warned that newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) are harmed when they don’t get protected time or are given complex cases before they are ready.

“In those circumstances, NQSWs are not in a position to critically reflect and this is a risk to their practice. Putting new social workers in that position is self-defeating because surely we want thriving social workers, not social workers who are just surviving.”

Wraparound support

Willis added that this is why Hampshire’s Graduate Entry Training Scheme gives NQSWs a month-long induction, opportunities to experience life in different parts of the service and extra wraparound support to help them build confidence and skills safely.

Other talks at the Social Work in the South event included an opening address from the chief social worker for children and families, Isabelle Trowler, as well as workshops on topical subjects such as sexual abuse, neglect and supporting transgender young people.

Social Work in the South 2019

Steve Crocker, director of children’s services at Hampshire County Council, said: “It was really great to see so many training, newly qualified and experienced social workers together in one room.

“The event featured a unique programme that catered for all attendees and also served as a way to celebrate the amazing work undertaken by social workers all over the region.

“We at Hampshire County Council were proud to host the event and welcome esteemed colleagues such as Isabelle Trowler along to join us. We are also pleased that so many of our neighbouring local authorities could join us to provide social workers with a well-rounded and positive experience.”

For information about the next Social Work in the South event, email socialworkcareers@hants.gov.uk