This year has seen the creation of Devon County Council’s Social Care Academy which will support social workers to develop their skills and knowledge throughout their career. The county currently runs a very effective and well respected Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) and offers placements to students from a range of local universities who deliver both BA and MA Social Work courses.

Nationally however, there are concerns about the training of social workers and their preparedness for practice within statutory social work. For example Martin Narey was approached by the Secretary of State for Education to “look at” the initial training for childcare social workers. His report, Making the Education of Social Workers Consistently Effective (2014) is critical of social work education and states that “…there is very little clarity about what a newly qualified social worker needs to know” (Narey, 2014 p8).

Anecdotally, here in Devon, some Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs) have experienced a difficulty in coming to terms with a role that appears to be more focussed on intervention and intrusion than liberation or social justice.


In order to understand the needs of NQSWs the Academy will be undertaking research which we hope will address two significant issues/questions:

  • How well are Newly Qualified Social Workers prepared for their statutory role? And
  • What expectations do Newly Qualified Social Workers have of statutory social work? What do they think it is?


We hope that the proposed research will help us to clearly identify the gaps between what social work training offers and what NQSWs need. This research will support us to work more effectively with our local universities

If you are interested in contributing to the research, please contact Aaron Standon at

You can also view his recent blog article here