The established Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) programme has now closed to new registrations and the programme will close on 31 March 2013. From September 2012, employers and NQSWs have been able to benefit from a funded single Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme, covering both the children and families and adults’ sectors. The Department administers the ASYE programme for the children and families sectors.

 Who should I contact if I have questions about the NQSW programme?

Any queries about the Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) programme should initially be discussed with your NQSW supervisor or programme coordinator.

If your query cannot be resolved by them, then you can contact a member of the NQSW team by emailing:

 How was the NQSW programme evaluated?

A consortium of universities was appointed to evaluate the programme over its first three years of operation. Employers were asked about the way the programme has been implemented. The evaluation included a longitudinal study following social workers after their first year of employment. Evaluation researchers have worked with children and young people on some aspects of the evaluation. The final report, published in July 2012 can be accessed from this page.

 How does the NQSW programme link with other professional development opportunities?

The NQSW programme was designed so that employers could use a range of training and development opportunities to enable their newly qualified social workers to demonstrate achievement of the outcome statements. This could include awards or modules offered by higher education institutions (HEIs) and other learning providers as well as learning through co-working, coaching or short courses that meet specific needs.

 How do the NQSW outcome statements relate to the induction standards for social care?

The Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) programme outcome statements describe the skills and knowledge that social workers should be expected to know, understand and undertake in their first year of employment. They focus on continuing professional development and induction, which are specifically linked to the social work professional role. They encompass the induction standards for social care. These induction standards are for everyone working in social care and apply to social care workers.

 Can the NQSW programme support employees who are returning to the social work profession after a break?

The NQSW programme was designed for social workers who are taking up their first social work practice role within a children’s setting. It has supported those who have returned to the profession after a substantial career break, with employers adapting the delivery of the programme for them.

 What does the 90 per cent case load really mean?

It is an employer’s responsibility to manage the amount of work expected of a social worker in their first year of employment, taking their confidence and previous experience, skills and knowledge into account.

It is not always possible to predict the path an individual may take, but in the first month a newly qualified social worker (NQSW)’s caseload may be at the same level as what could reasonably be expected of a final year degree student.

After the first month, the NQSW can be expected to move on to more complex cases as their experience, confidence, knowledge and skills develop. However, employers should keep in mind the expectation that an NQSW should undertake 90 per cent of the work of a confident second or third year social worker.

Arrangements such as shadowing and co-working where an NQSW can learn from more experienced colleagues without holding any case responsibility will contribute to managing an NQSW’s case load appropriately.

 What happens if an NQSW is absent from the programme due to health issues, maternity or bereavement?

We have always worked with an employer to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement where an NQSW has been absent from the programme for an extended period. An option has been to allow additional time for completion.

 Why is the NQSW programme no longer open for new registrations?

The registration window for the 2011-12 NQSW programme closed in March 2012 and the programme will close on 31 March 2013. In September 2012, the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) began. Building on the learning gained through the NQSW programme, the ASYE provides a sector-wide approach to supporting adults’, children and families' social workers within their first year in practice. More information on the sector-wide ASYE is held on the website of Skills for Care, which administers the programme in the adults’ sector.

Contact details

Newly Qualified Social Worker Team

Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) Team