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Progression for social workers to build skills, knowledge and confidence

It can take a minimum of two years from qualification to Level 3b (with one year being the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) and 12 – 18 months year of Early Professional Development (EPD).

It can then take 18 months or 2 years to complete the requirements at Level 3b to apply for Level 4. The ability to fast track will need to be agreed by your line and operations manager.

  • Social Work Degree Apprenticeship – opportunities for current WCC staff who have been employed for a minimum of 2 years and have worked with service users in a social care setting for 2 years.
  • ASYE - 12-month programme for newly qualified social workers (NQSW) building a portfolio based on the professional competency framework (PCF) and knowledge and skills statement (KSS) which goes to a moderation panel. The aim of the programme is to develop your knowledge and skills to achieve better outcomes for service users. The ASYE offers a national programme of support, additional supervision, study leave and workshop programme, tutorial support, 10% learning and development time and 10% reduction in workload. There is an opportunity to APEL the ASYE portfolio for 20 university credits towards the PGCert later in your career.
  • Early Professional Development Programme (EPD) - This is a 12 to 18-month programme of training, practice consolidation. Assessment at the end of the EPD period is mapped against the KSS and PCF. Assessment can be internal – via the formulation of a portfolio which goes to moderation panel, or external – through the NAAS accreditation process. After successful completed of the EPD / NAAS accreditation, you progress to a 3b social worker. During your time as a 3b social worker, you will have the opportunity to work towards completion of a PGCert in advanced social work practice or practice education. To become a Level 4 social worker (Experienced social worker), you must make an application to the Principal Social Worker.  As a minimum, to apply for a level 4 position you will need to have at least 12-18 months experience as a level 3b social worker and have obtained a PGCert in advanced social work practice or practice education OR have undertaken training and qualification deemed by the Principal Social Worker to be of an equal level in a specialist area of practice (EG DDP level 2, Diploma in Therapeutic Lifestory Work or Level 2 Theraplay). Workers are required to submit an observation of their practice, a supporting statement from their Operations Manager and to have a case file audited as part of their application to be an experienced social worker. If your application is approved, you will not automatically progress to level 4, but can apply for level 4 positions where there are vacancies across the service. 

Advance progression

Once you are an experienced practitioner, you will have various choices, these are:

  • Become an Advanced Practitioner (developing expertise to deliver better outcomes for service users). Opportunities to stay in practice and use your knowledge and expertise to support and develop students and colleagues, and work on challenging cases.
  • Become a Principal Practitioner (delivering best practice to achieve better outcomes for service users). Opportunities to stay in practice and develop a specialism, mentor and support NQSWs, opportunities for advanced training and work in collaboration with universities to deliver training, work on complex cases.
  • Become an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) (supporting improvements to social work practice through scrutiny and challenge). Opportunities to develop your leadership skills and support improvements in practice through oversight and scrutiny. Opportunity to undertake the post-qualifying (PQ) award.
  • Become a Consultant Social Worker, supervising and assessing a cohort of Frontline students.
  • Become a Team Manager (supporting improvements to social work practice through line management). Opportunities to develop your leadership skills and move into management and support the professional development of social workers.

Advanced practitioner

  1. Application, audit and interview to progress
  2. Must have completed all the components of the Career pathway or equivalent
  3. 18+ months experience at level 3b
  4. Demonstrate the ability to work more autonomously and support the work of less experienced team members

Independent reviewing officer

  1. Application, interview, and presentation to interview panel, demonstrating evidence of high-quality advanced practice in child protection children looked after (CLA).
  2. Must have completed all the components of the Career Pathway or equivalent.
  3. Significant experience in a social worker position equivalent to WCC Level 4 or above.

Principal practitioner

  1. Application, interview and presentation to interview panel, demonstrating evidence of high-quality advanced practice.
  2. Must have completed all the components of the Career Pathway or equivalent.
  3. Significant experience in a social worker position equivalent to WCC Level 4 or above.

Team manager

  1. Application, interview and presentation to interview panel, demonstrating evidence of high-quality advanced practice.
  2. Must have completed all the components of the Career Pathway or equivalent.
  3. Significant experience in a social worker position equivalent to WCC Level 4 or above.