Integrating Post-Qualification Study into the Workplace: The Candidates’ Experience

Cooper, Barry and Rixon, Andy (2001). Integrating Post-Qualification Study into the Workplace: The Candidates’ Experience. Social Work Education, 20(6) pp. 701–716.



The PQ framework for qualified social workers has struggled to become consistently established within workplace training and practice organisations across the UK. This is likely to become a focus for change as the Government reviews current structures and attempts to 'modernise the workforce' by encouraging the creation of cultures of post-qualification learning and continuing professional development [PQ/CPD]. This paper argues that the current emphasis upon the rhetoric of 'performance management' needs to be balanced by attention to the realities of integrating operational and professional development demands within socio-cultural contexts.

This paper reports and discusses the results of a questionnaire survey into the experiences of registered PQ candidates within a Local Authority SSD. A summary of key results is provided. The discussion identifies a number of themes and strategies for integrating PQ into the workplace. These are based upon a range of attitudinal and practical factors, such as decision-making; supervision; study arrangements; mentoring; and motivation, that cover some of the experiences of candidates. The paper concludes by drawing parallels with similar developments within nursing and recommends that all stakeholders involved in PQ development need to help establish the conditions within practice contexts where social workers can link service and policy initiatives with the requirements for post-qualification study.

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