Experiences of post-qualifying study in social work
This article is based on a research project to explore the experiences of past and current candidates for post-qualifying awards in social work in England. Also included in the study are the Leads of the post-qualifying consortia in England. The study used questionnaire survey and nominal group techniques to gather data, which were coded and categorised into themes. The main findings relate to the perceived purposes of post-qualifying study, motivations for undertaking post-qualifying study, the factors that sustain and hinder study, the advice that those who have or who are experiencing post-qualifying study would give to those about to start and future plans and hopes in this area.<p></p>Post-qualifying study is generally valued, especially in relation to the opportunities it provides for professional development. The support of a mentor who has direct experience of the candidate's programme is highly prized, as are clear and consistent guidance from the programme and meaningful study time and workload relief from employers. There are also frustrations for some candidates who do not feel that their post-qualifying study has stretched them beyond qualifying standards or who experience the teaching as divorced from the realities of daily practice. The appetite for a wider choice of post-qualifying modules suggests that providers of post-qualifying study will need to collaborate within and across regions in order to achieve a critical mass of candidates for more specialist or focused learning. The study suggests a need for further research to understand the impact of post-qualifying study on candidates' social work practice.<p></p>The article concludes with two checklists of questions, one for individual candidates and another for agencies and programmes. These questions arise from the findings in the research.
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