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Social worker: Training

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Qualified social workers in England are required to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and more local authorities are implementing a policy that prevents newly qualified social workers from starting work until their HCPC registration has been completed.

Registered social workers are then required to keep their training and learning up to date through continuing professional development (CPD) in order to re-register with the HCPC after an initial two-year period. This can include different sorts of learning, such as reading and attending conferences/training courses.

The Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)  was launched in September 2012 with the aim of ensuring that newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) receive consistent support in their first year of practice so that they are able to become confident, competent professionals.

The Social Work Reform Board is implementing the recommendations made by the Social Work Task Force to improve the quality of social work. This is informing a Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF)  for social workers. The College of Social Work is developing mechanisms and guidance to support this and it's applicable to all social workers in England.

Social workers in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will still use the National Occupational Standards for Social Work .

Care Council for Wales is responsible for the Continuing Professional Education and Learning (CPEL) framework for social workers in Wales. In Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC)  provides information about post-qualification training for social workers in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, registered social workers must take part in continuing professional development (CPD), which can contribute towards a registered worker's Post Registration Training and Learning (PRTL). For more details, see the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) .

Social workers also need to develop skills such as ICT, problem solving, communication, teamwork and personal and professional development.

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Written by Clare Dawson, University of Warwick
December 2013

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