Skills for Care

Getting started in social work with ASYE

30 Sep 2021

Skills for Care

  • Recruitment
  • Workforce development
  • Social work

Welcoming new starters and newly-qualified entrants to the sector is a key consideration of the recruitment process. Luckily, there are many initiatives which can help with those first steps.

One of these is the ‘Assessed and supported year in employment’ (ASYE) for newly-qualified social workers.

ASYE is a great way to transition newly-qualified social workers from education into employment and is a good way for employers to recruit new talent into their teams.

We spoke with three ASYE social workers about their experience with the programme.

Polly Wade, social worker, Pennine Care Foundation Trust

I first found out about the ASYE programme when completing my Masters (MA) in social work at Manchester Metropolitan University, who deliver the ASYE programme.

I’m employed by the Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council as a mental health social worker/care coordinator.

As part of the ASYE programme I have protected learning and reflection time which I use to work on my portfolio or attend social work forums. The borough has an ASYE peer support group which meets virtually, and the university has delivered online lectures.

My caseload is varied in complexity to provide me with a range of experience to meet the relevant learning requirements of the ASYE qualification.

I have a lot of supervision, including a managerial supervision once a month and a meeting with my ASYE supervisor once a month. The team encourages clinical supervision, so I also meet with a colleague to discuss any specific concerns.

The main skills I have developed through ASYE are my assessment skills, critical reflection, and professional curiosity, and receiving feedback.

Every social worker has their own style and ASYE is a good way of trying these different styles on for size to see what suits best. I’ve been able to explore and question my practice through regular supervision and protected reflective time. This has made me more aware of my social work values and more likely to be creative in my practice.

It can be intense going from student to qualified social worker. The ASYE gives you that extra support to bridge that gap. It consolidates what you’ve already learned at university and you can try out those theories in a real but supportive environment.

Employers also benefit from taking on ASYE social workers who have current knowledge of legislation which is often changing in this socio-economic climate.

Employers can shape ASYE social workers’ development by enrolling them on specific training courses relating to their local policies and community. Employers who support and guide ASYE social workers by focusing on their development and resilience are more likely to retain them.

Laura Jackson, mental health social worker, NYCC

I was introduced to the ASYE programme at university, and once qualified and employed by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) I was introduced to the ASYE co-ordinator and enrolled on their programme.

I was employed as a mental health social worker on a community mental health team. The ASYE programme involved lots of training including modules on managing stress, safeguarding, resilience, and the Mental Capacity Act (MCA).

Supervision has been invaluable throughout my ASYE. I’ve used this time to reflect on the practitioner I’m becoming. I’ve learned a lot about how my values are reflected in the work I do.

The ASYE is designed to offer you the maximum support as you develop your professional confidence and competencies as a practitioner. It provides a safe space to reflect on your mistakes and uncertainties and to formulate objectives to overcome these.

I’d highly recommend doing the ASYE as soon as you’re able in your new role. It offered me the support I needed to help build my confidence and knowledge.

Josephine Hocking, social worker, Tower Hamlets

My job as an ASYE social worker is in the fostering recruitment and assessment team, where I recruit and assess foster carers and assess special guardians.

I’ve received a huge amount of support, training and learning at Tower Hamlets, from the dedicated team supporting ASYEs and from managers and colleagues. I have regular one-to-one and group supervisions with both my line manager and practice assessor.

I’ve attended internal and external training on a vast range of subjects including assessment, analysis, relationship-based practice, trauma-informed practice, attachment and therapeutic parenting, cultural competence, court and care planning, direct work with children and exploitation. Training that stands out was a session for ASYEs with Futures Theatre, using drama to explore common situations which social workers experience.

An ASYE year is giving me the time, space, support, knowledge and experience I need to learn how to be a good social worker. I would definitely recommend it to others.

I can’t imagine how difficult it was in the pre-ASYE days when newly-qualified social workers must have started in at the deep end. I feel like I’ve learnt so much since I started my job last October. I’m feeling a lot more confident in my abilities than I did back then.

Find out more about careers in social care and welcoming new people to the sector in our #RecruitmentReady spotlight.

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