by YNHD | Feb 8, 2021 | Case Studies, Latest News
The British Association of Social Work (BASW) England, the largest professional association for registered social workers in the United Kingdom, wanted to undertake a review of their mentoring scheme to find out ways in which they could improve the mentoring service.
The BASW mentoring scheme was launched in 2011, following requests for support for newly qualified social workers (NQSW’s) with finding work and with settling into their first social work role.
The scheme has been accessed by other social workers who needed support and guidance on finding work and continual professional development (CPD).
Those who accessed the service included overseas social workers seeking advice and guidance on working as a social worker in the UK; social workers who had been out of practice seeking advice and guidance on returning to social work.
The scheme had been subject to several reviews, the first one in 2014 which resulted in revised guidance on the scheme, published in February 2015.
BASW received feedback from some of the mentors and mentees on the scheme in 2017, the feedback received helped inform a decision for a wider review of the scheme to ascertain if there was still an appetite for a mentoring from members, also to review what other forms of mentoring support there is for social workers.
BASW are seeking the views of members in England about whether there is a need for a mentoring scheme managed by BASW, and if this is still needed what members would like from a mentoring programme, for example supporting more experienced social workers at various points of their career.
Chinara Enterprises was selected to undertake this review on behalf of BASW, and an essential aspect of this projects approach, was the holistic involvement of BASW throughout the project development and delivery, ensuring that BASW would be able to take ownership of any revised approach to the mentoring scheme, along with being able to continue to make use of any materials developed.
To ensure the mentoring review would provide clear results, it was important for Chinara Enterprises to establish with BASW the aim of this review.
The review sought to:
- Review the existing mentoring services against best practice models
- Make recommendations for a revised mentoring service
- Provide recommendations on an infrastructure for the mentoring service
We used a mixture of research techniques, which helped with developing the recommendations.
The approach to the review included the following:
- Definition of mentoring: In undertaking this review, it was important to have a clear understanding of what mentoring was and the difference to coaching, as the two are often used together due to similarities in the purpose and skills required.
- The characteristics of a mentor and mentee and the factors that contribute to a positive mentor/mentee relationship: This would help in terms of any recommended revisions to the scheme and any subsequent guidance.
- The benefits of mentoring on social work practice:
- Obtaining feedback from social workers, employers, and recruitment agencies: A crucial part of this review was to ascertain the views of these groups to assess both the need, as well as to gain an overview of what sort of service they would like.
- A review of the current infrastructure, processes, guidance and templates
What was evident from this research and evaluation, was that if BASW wished to continue with a mentoring service, they needed to have a solid infrastructure around their service, so that their mentees and mentors could gain maximum benefit from their services and contribute towards enhancing the quality of social work practice.
Having consulted with representatives in BASW as well as feedback from the surveys, it was very clear that there was a strong desire for BASW to continue with a mentoring service.
The research undertaken, enabled Chinara Enterprises to draw several conclusions which helped to inform recommendations for a revised and improved service, which were:
- A clear definition of what mentoring is, so that all who wish to access the service in the future are clear about what the service can and can’t offer.
- Clarity about who the service is for and any exclusions
- The models of mentoring applied
- What BASW is looking for in its mentors, eligibility and how to apply
- How social workers can access the service, including guidance on how mentees are matched to mentors
- Establish terms and conditions for mentors and mentees, with mentee/mentor agreements, to enable a stronger commitment from mentors
- A dedicated coordinator for the mentoring service
- Clear guidance, support, and training for mentors
- Guidance in terms of quality assurance and risk management processes in place
The conclusions derived from this research, helped to provide BASW with transformative results for them to consider as part of developing a mentoring service.
by YNHD | Feb 8, 2021 | Case Studies, Latest News
Return To Social Work Programme Case Study
As part of the £5 million fund set aside by the Minister of State for Apprenticeships, Skills and Women, to help people return to work after a long career break; The Local Government Association (LGA) were tasked with building upon the success of it’s Come Back To Social Work pilot, to deliver it as a national programmed called the Return To Social Work Programme, working in partnership with the Department of Health and the Department for Education, in an attempt to get 100 experienced social workers back into the adult’s and children’s social work profession in London, the West Midlands and the East of England.
In order to meet the increasing demand and cut recruitment costs for councils, reduce the need for agency staff, and bring passionate people back into the profession, the Return to Social Work programme offered councils a free and simple way to hire experienced social workers without the cost or time required to run a recruitment campaign themselves.
The aim of the programme was to carefully select qualified social workers who were on a career break, with a minimum of two years’ experience who had been out of the field for no more than five years, and provide them with a free, high quality 12-week training programme to support them meet the requirements to re-register with Social Work regulator and return to practice.
The Return to Social Work programme will equip you with the skills to ensure you’re at the forefront of social work knowledge, then give you the expertise to excel in an interview and secure a role within a council that you really want
Chinara Enterprises were commissioned to create a high quality 12-week training programme to be delivered across three regions of England, facilitating and managing the training and learning development of 100 social workers, providing them with hands-on work placements, plus coaching and mentoring, in order to prepare the social workers to return to practice.
- Organising logistics for classroom based teaching across 3 regions
- Developing an effective streamlined recruitment and selection process in order to screen the correct potential candidates to partake on the programme
- Working with tutors from Making Research Count , the social work research unit at King’s College London, along with their associates across the UK from partnered Universities to create a blended learning programme, that takes into account a wide range of learning styles that meets the needs of the learners at various stages of their learning and development skillset
- Structuring the learning experience of the programme, so that it provided development activities that the candidates could engage within, such as action learning sets and group reflective supervision, facilitated by practice educators.
- Organising supervised practice for each candidate, which enabled them to gain real life work experience with a local council, and to transfer some of their learning into practice, as well as providing employers with an opportunity to assess their potential for any future vacancies.
- Providing coaching and Mentoring reflective peer service to each candidate, to help the participants identify their career, learning, personal and professional goals whilst developing their personal and professional resilience.
- Creating an effective measurable assessment process to track and review the progression of the learning and development of each candidate, allowing for the candidates final portfolios to be presented to a quality assurance panel for their feedback and sign off, enabling each successful candidate to re-register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
The launch of the Local Government Associations Return to Social Work programme carried out across three key regions within the UK, scaled up from the previous Come Back to Social work programme, turned out to be a success.
Following the initial Come Back to Social Work pilot in 2016, which saw 93% of the 30 candidates successfully finding employment upon completion of the programme, after doubling the number of candidates for the Return to Social Work campaign, 87% out of the 60 participants of this programme returned back to social work upon completion of the scheme.
The programme helped me to understand social work in today’s context, including changes in law and regulations, challenges faced by social workers, the Continuing professional development service, the Professional Capabilities Framework. More importantly they helped me regain my confidence, which is most needed when you have been out of practice for a number of years.
You have nothing to lose. This programme re-opens your mind to learning and developing. You get great support from day one and you are encouraged to identify your skills, knowledge and experiences and understand how these can be put into practice. The support provided by the coaches and mentors is fantastic and the information shared within the workshops builds your confidence, which all contributes towards you being able to return back to the profession.
Everybody has their own personal story as to why they left social work practice and now wish to return. The Return to Social Work programme ultimately provided me with that possibility after a four year career break. It catered for a high number of my learning needs and enabled me to think about the gaps which needed to be addressed before returning into practice.