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Developing the confidence and competence of newly qualified child and family social workers in England: outcomes of a national programme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-176
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jun 2013
DateAccepted/In press - 1 May 2013
DateE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2013
DatePublished (current) - Jan 2015


A measure of self-efficacy was used to assess the development of competence and confidence for participants in a one-year national programme of supervision and support for newly qualified child and family social workers (NQSWs) in England. The study also explored the associations between self-efficacy, demographic variables and role clarity, role conflict, job satisfaction and stress.

Method: a longitudinal repeated measures design with three cohorts of NQSWs participating in the programme (2008-2012) (N = 2019); in 2008-09 comparison was made with a ‘contrast group’ of NQSWs (N = 47) in non-participating agencies.

Results: self-efficacy ratings showed substantial and statistically significant increases between the beginning and end of the programme for all three cohorts. The proportion of ‘confident’ NQSWs increased from a half to three-quarters of respondents. However, interim retrospective ratings indicated overestimation of self-efficacy at baseline. Self-efficacy ratings at the end of the year favoured the programme group vs. the contrast group. High self-efficacy was predicted statistically by age, role clarity, and intrinsic (but not extrinsic) job satisfaction. It was unexpectedly associated with high role conflict and was not related to stress.

Implications: findings supported a developmental process model for the accumulation of professional expertise. An Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) based on the programme has been established for all NQSWs in England.

    Research areas

  • child welfare, job satisfaction, newly qualified social workers, self-efficacy, social work education, stress



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