The impact of mentoring interventions to support newly qualified social workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland

Hamill, Bronagh; Boyle, Shirley and McFadden, Paula (2023). The impact of mentoring interventions to support newly qualified social workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland. European Social Work Research, 1(3) pp. 329–344.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1332/qwbe5026

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the early cessation of practice learning opportunities for social work students across Northern Ireland and an expedited graduation to enable them to join the workforce. The article reports on a small-scale service evaluation of the Assessed Year in Employment Mentoring Programme in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. The programme provided additional support to newly qualified social workers as they transitioned from student to professional. Focus groups facilitated with 11 Assessed Year in Employment social workers highlighted the positive impact of mentoring, with emphasis on the importance of formal, accessible and effective organisational support during the transitional period. Recommendations call for continued facilitation of mentoring for future cohorts of Assessed Year in Employment social workers in order to cultivate a supportive organisational climate and strengthen the workforce.

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