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01 Aug 2019

Your learning

Update on newly qualified social worker supported and assessed year pilot

We’re currently working with Aberdeenshire, Angus and Learning Network West to test approaches to a supported and assessed year for newly qualified social workers (NQSWs).

We chose the areas for the pilot based on several criteria:

  • sufficient numbers of NQSWs joining the area
  • an existing induction programme ready for enhancement
  • or a pre-existing partnership in place.

Each pilot site agreed to put arrangements in place to provide NQSWs with a dedicated line manager, regular supervision, protected time and caseload.


The NQSWs are assessed at two points during the pilot using draft benchmark standards written for this pilot. At the midpoint, progress towards meeting the draft standards is assessed and managers provide feedback to the NQSWs on areas of strength and areas for further development. At the end of the pilot year, managers will assess whether the NQSWs have met the draft standards.

Each pilot site has implemented the year in different ways. An evaluation is taking place to establish the impact and effectiveness of the different approaches to help NQSWs consolidate learning and prepare for their ongoing social work career. We will use the evaluation evidence to inform recommendations to the Scottish Government for a sustainable programme to meet NQSWs learning and developmental needs.

Find out more

You can read more information on the pilots and the experiences of the pilot lead officers in the materials we presented at this year’s NQSW and Social Work Scotland conferences.

Recognising and supporting our social workers – how the NQSW supported year and planned social work post-qualifying framework can improve recognition and resilience presentation.

Hear what the lead officers in the three areas think about the pilot project.

Further reading

Gillies, B. (2016) Implementation of a Probationary Year for Social Workers in Scotland: An option appraisal prepared for the Scottish Social Services Council.

Grant, S., McCulloch, T., Daly, M., Kettle, M., and Sheridan, L. (2018) Newly qualified social workers in Scotland: A five-year longitudinal study Interim Report 2: December 2018.

Grant, S., McCulloch, T., Kettle, M., Sheridan, L and Webb, S. (2017) Newly qualified social workers in Scotland: A five-year longitudinal study Interim Report 1: December 2017.

Grant, S., Sheridan, L. and Webb, S.A. (2014) Readiness for Practice of Newly Qualified Social Workers.

Scottish Government (2019) Perspectives on the Introduction of a Mandatory, Supported, Assessed Year for Newly Qualified Social Workers.
Stakeholder Survey: Key Finding.

SSSC (2019) Post Qualifying Learning in Social Work in Scotland – A Research Study.

Welch, V., Lerpiniere, J. and Young, E. (2014) Scottish First-line Managers’ Views of Newly Qualified Social Workers’ Preparedness for Practice; findings from an online Delphi study.

Contact information

Sandra Wilson
Communications Officer
Scottish Social Services Council