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New roles

Into the workforce: social work graduates in England

Purpose

To explore the views of newly qualified social workers on entry to the profession and the fit of the new degree qualification in preparing them for this work. To combine these findings with data from managers and employers to consider if their expectations of the new degree are met. 

Research team

Jill Manthorpe, SCWRU
Jo Moriarty, SCWRU
Martin Stevens, SCWRU
Shereen Hussein, SCWRU
Endellion Sharpe, Sharpe Research (principal investigator) 

Funding

This study is funded by the Department of Health’s Social Care Workforce Research Initiative 2007-10.

Background

This three-year study, starting in 2007, is establishing how well social work graduates in England are prepared to enter the professional workforce by their degree-level education. SCWRU is working with Sharpe Research to explore:
—Whether graduate social workers believe themselves to be prepared.
—The nature of their progress in the workplace over time.
—How newly-qualified social workers’ own beliefs about their abilities and preparedness compare with the needs and expectations of employers.

Methods

Information will be gathered from new social work graduates at two (or possibly three) points in time: shortly after graduation, and then a year later once they have settled into their careers as social workers. The Unit is undertaking 40 interviews with line managers of newly qualified social workers to consider their perspectives, is completing a scoping review of ‘readiness to practise’ among newly qualified social workers and will provide advice and assistance with the analysis of the responses to the online survey. Data will be analysed to address the central question of how well social workers have been prepared for practice by their completion of the new social work degree.

Findings

Survey and fieldwork are in progress.

Timetable

2007–2012

Output

Final report

Sharpe, E., Moriarty, J., Stevens, M., Manthorpe, J. & Hussein, S. (2011) 'Into the Workforce. Report from a study of new social work graduates, funded under the Department of Health Social Care Workforce Research Initiative' [pdf, 1.54 MB], London: Sharpe Research; Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London.

Summary of final report

Sharpe, E., Moriarty, J., Stevens, M., Manthorpe, J. & Hussein, S. (2011) 'Into the Workforce. Summary report' [pdf, 61.2 KB], London: Sharpe Research; Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London.

Interim report

Sharpe, E., Moriarty, J., Stevens, M., Manthorpe, J. & Hussein, S., (2010, unpublished), 'Into the Workforce. Interim report from a study funded under the Department of Health Social Care Workforce Research Initiative', London: Sharpe Research; Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London.

Article

Manthorpe, J., Moriarty, J., Hussein, S., Stevens, M. & Sharpe, E. (2013, online) 'Content and purpose of supervision in social work practice in England: views of newly qualified social workers, managers and directors', British Journal of Social Work. 

Associated work

A Summary of preliminary themes and findings prepared for the Social Work Task Force (June 2009) is available here.

17 November 2009 A presentation made at a Social Care Workforce Research Initiative meeting: 'Into the workforce. Following up the graduates from SWDE student survey: 2005-2006 intake.'

Media

Community Care, 21 October 2011: Many NQSWs fail to receive adequate induction and supervision.

Impact

While findings are emergent, the study has provided data and emerging findings for the Social Work Reform Board.

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