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Sep 19

Why ASYE works for Cumbria County Council

Posted: 19 September 2019

Our priority as a local authority is to offer the best possible service to the people of Cumbria. For us, the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme delivered through an academy approach, helps with that. It supports the journey from qualifying as a social worker to practising effectively in social care settings: this can be a challenging journey to navigate.

The value of the programme is that it helps our Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs) to achieve the right level of practise expertise so that they are then confident and capable in their day to day practice. One of the main reasons we signed up to the programme was that the council strongly believe in investing in the development of our practitioners, and that means supporting our NQSWs to become the best social workers they can be. 

We also strongly believe that the programme provides a robust quality assurance check on the standard of our NQSWs, that not only benefits the people of Cumbria, but our organisation and the wider social work profession. 

Having our NQSWs complete this programme means the people of our large and diverse county know they are working with social workers; who have the vital practise expertise they need to support them in improving their independence and well-being. 

One of the great strengths of ASYE is that it develops NQSWs through the four support arrangements of an assessor, frequent supervision with a focus on critical reflection, a reduction in workload and protected time for development. As part of our programme we also provide an effective training programme which captures key practice areas including: MCA & DoLS, Mindfulness, Emotional Resilience, Law, Evidence and Court Procedure, Supervision Skills for Supervisees, Assessments in Challenging situations and Managing Conflict.  

Our programme has a particular focus on critical thinking and analysis as we see this as central to sound decision-making. This is supported through the programme’s four support structures, and we’re able to develop the knowledge, skills and values of our NQSWs so that they integrate these effectively when practising. 

ASYE is also important for the recruitment of social workers who have completed their qualifying course, and as importantly, it helps us retain good quality NQSWs, which has obvious benefits to the people we serve. 

Experience has shown us how critical ASYE has become for the development of our practitioners and, along with their involvement in the development of the programme, is a strong indicator of our journey to developing into a learning organisation. 

The programme actively supports the improvement culture of our organisation, because social workers must now demonstrate that they are working at a post-qualifying standard by the end of their first year in practise. 

Signing up for the ASYE programme has definitely worked for us, our NQSWs and the people they work with across our county from Barrow in Furness, Penrith, Workington and Whitehaven to Carlisle.