Is the ASYE an essential part of a Social Workers development or a further barrier to entering the industry?
The Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) is designed to help newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) to develop their skills, knowledge and capabilities to strengthen their professional confidence.
It was introduced in 2012 and is implemented for a NQSWs first year of post qualified work.
I think the ASYE is a great programme, I have worked with many Social Workers who have successfully completed the scheme and found the protected case load and increased supervision essential in their development and made them far more confident in their decision making and a better Social Worker overall.
However, I also hear from a lot of Social Workers who have been driven away from Front Line Social Work due to the lack of availability of ASYE schemes and the mixed message surrounding the importance of this year.
So, what happens to Qualified Social Workers who don’t get themselves onto an ASYE scheme?
Not all graduating Social Workers are aware of the importance placed on completing an ASYE and there is still confusion around whether it is mandatory or simply beneficial. From my recruitment perspective, an ASYE is essential for any graduating Social Worker as managers are reluctant to look at Social Workers without it yet a lot of Social Workers finish University without knowing this. Many Social Workers start applying for Qualified roles once they graduate and end up missing out on ASYE schemes, purely because they weren’t made aware of the value of it.
Once the ASYE boat has been missed, Social Workers will often go into a support or Social Care role to get into employment. Whilst this will improve your skills and get you familiar with how a Borough and Social Work team works, this only pushes you further away from a Front Line Qualified position. My experience has shown that managers aren’t interested in candidates who have gone down this route.
Another problem reported to me with the ASYE is that the level of supervision and caseloads can vary wildly from Borough to Borough.
A Social Worker on an ASYE is supposed to have a protected caseload, increased supervision and mentoring but at some places this is just not happening. This has resulted in graduates being put in highly stressful situations very early on in their career and I have seen many examples of Social Workers leaving their AYSE post before completion due to a lack of support and burn out.
I think these issues are further contributing to the staff crisis in Social Work. Talented graduate Social Workers are getting driven away from the front line, resulting in experienced Social Workers getting more work, more stress and continually over worked.
My suggestion is that an ASYE becomes an extended year of study that is essential and student Social Workers should view it as their final placement year before entering the industry as a fully qualified Social Worker. The scheme needs to be properly implemented across the board, with students being appropriately supported in the completion of their training so they can develop their careers and make a difference in people’s lives.
I think if the ASYE is made a mandatory part of a Social Work degree it will result in more students going through and completing the ASYE scheme and more Social Workers moving into Qualified positions, lessening the burden on experienced Social Workers.
I am very interested in hearing from Social workers who have experienced the ASYE programme and how it has shaped your Social Work career, so please get in touch if you have something to share.
Thanks for reading,