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A new pilot to test approaches to a supported and assessed year for newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) is now underway.

There are three pilot areas/groups.

  • Aberdeenshire
  • Angus
  • A partnership coordinated through Learning Network West involving four local authorities (Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire, Glasgow and North Lanarkshire) and four higher education institutes – Glasgow Caledonian University, Open University, University of Strathclyde and University of the West of Scotland.

Those taking part in the pilot will be assessed against a draft NQSW standard. This assessment of practice aims to support a more effective transition from newly qualified to practice rather than the current post registration training and learning (PRTL) requirements.

Craigforth, a social research company, will evaluate the pilot to establish the impact and effectiveness of the approaches used to help NQSWs consolidate learning and prepare for their ongoing social work career. Evidence from the evaluation will inform recommendations to the Scottish Government on a sustainable programme that meets NQSWs learning and developmental needs.

As well as the pilot we are also working with more rural and smaller employers to make sure we have sufficient insight into issues they face in supporting smaller numbers of NQSWs.

Look out for our updates

We will share updates on the pilots on SSSC News.


The NQSW pilot is one of the recommendations from the Review of Social Work Education  and is in line with the National Workforce Plan (Scottish Government, 2017).

Various research studies have identified the importance of effective induction and support in the first year as critical to making the transition from entering the workforce towards fulfilling the expectations of an autonomous social worker. These include the following:

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

Readiness for Practice of Newly Qualified Social Workers. Glasgow: Glasgow Caledonian Univers, Grant, S., Sheridan, L. and Webb, S.A. 2014

Implementing a probationary year for social workers in Scotland: An option appraisal commissioned by the Scottish Social Services Council. Dundee, Gillies, B. 2016

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