Newly-qualified social workers' readiness for practice in Scotland

Scott Grant*, Lynn Sheridan, Stephen A. Webb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Little is known about newly qualified social worker (NQSW) experiences of education, employment and training in Scotland. This article reports on findings from a national online survey (n=205) and focus groups conducted with newly qualified social workers during their first year of employment. The study presented here was commissioned by the Scottish Social Service Council (SSSC) as part of a wider strategic review of social work education. Following a mixed-method design, the results of this study were analysed using quantitative and qualitative software. Findings indicate that the majority of NQSWs feel well-prepared by social work education, but less supported by employers in terms of opportunities for continuous professional development. Experiences of good quality induction, supervision and opportunities for professional development demonstrate mixed results across Scotland. This study has important implications for the forthcoming review of social work education in Scotland and builds on research from England and Wales. It provides empirical clarity on what newly qualified social workers know, value and understand about their professional role and tasks. These Scottish findings run contrary to wider UK concerns such as those raised by recent commentators suggesting that newly qualified social workers are inadequately prepared for the challenge of childcare social work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-506
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number2
Early online date12 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • newly qualified social workers
  • readiness for practice
  • social work education
  • professional development

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