Plans unveiled to overhaul PQ training in Wales

The Care Council for Wales has launched a major consultation exercise into plans to overhaul post-qualification social work training. The plans propose establishing clearer career pathways and ongoing qualification requirements for registered social workers.

The proposals are contained in Continuing Professional Education and Learning: a Framework for Social Workers in Wales (the CPEL Framework), which includes a Consolidation Programme for embedding learning for newly qualified social workers and an Experienced Practitioner Programme for social workers qualified for three or more years.

Divided into four areas of practice, the Experienced Practitioner Programme offers specific post-qualification learning programmes for Social Work with Adults, Social Work with Children and Families, Social Work with People experiencing Mental Health Problems and Practice Education.

CPEL Framework also outlines requirements for Senior Social Work Practitioner, Consultant Social Worker and Social Work Team Manager roles, including the numbers of years practice experience and quantity of post qualification credits needed to secure such posts.

Implementation of the Consolidation Programme is planned for 2012, with the rest scheduled for 2014. The timetable could prove ambitious without an injection of new funding, however, a challenge CCW makes clear in its consultation document. The redirection of existing funding ‘is possible’, the document states, but not without posing risks to the recruitment of social workers through bursaries and funding for placement learning, as well as training for the whole social care workforce across all sectors from the Social Care Workforce Development Programme. To mitigate these dangers, ‘there is a need to provide additional funding, particularly for the Experienced Practitioner Programme’, the consultation states.

BASW Cymru is encouraging all social workers in Wales to have their say in the process, by contributing online and attending one of six consultation events around the country in June and July, ahead of the consultation deadline of Friday 16 September 2011. ‘This is a crucial opportunity for every social worker in Wales to have their say in the proposals to strengthen and streamline the profession over the next few years,” said BASW Cymru manager Robin Moulster, adding that the Association would also be formally contributing its views to the exercise.

The consultation follows the Welsh Assembly Government’s publication in February 2011 of Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action, which specifically outlined the need for clearer career paths for social workers and linking registration to professional development requirements.

To contribute to the consultation online: