NQSW – the supported year in Scotland

Welcome to this information for NQSWs. We will be updating this page to make sure you have all the relevant information about your requirements as a registered social worker in Scotland.

You can find out about the current continuing professional learning requirements, information about what we are developing and links to learning resources designed for you.

NQSWs work in many different settings and roles in their practice. Throughout the NQSW supported year and your future career, it is crucial to develop your knowledge, skills and values across key areas of continuing Professional Learning (CPL).

Graphic style head and portrait of different people

We will be developing learning pathways for the NQSW Supported Year as part of the national project and these will show ways to support your professional learning and meet your Continuing Professional Learning requirements.

Introducing the resources for NQSWs

You will find information about the CPL requirements on this website. You will also find clear information and resources which can support your learning across themed areas. We’ve included some reflective learning materials on each of these themed areas too.

It can be challenging to find learning opportunities which support you to focus on knowledge and skills which are not part of your own daily practice. For example, the wellbeing and protection of children, young people and adults are part of your responsibilities as a social worker, and you may be more focussed in daily practice on one age group or role within this overarching area. 

We have also signposted to other learning activities and opportunities from other places that we know have been recommended by NQSWs, supervisors or employers in Scotland.

Below, you will find links to the themed areas of information and learning resources specifically for NQSWs.

Please note that some of these resources are under development and you can contact us at with suggestions that you have for our website. We are working with different stakeholders to develop our information for NQSWs and employers in Scotland.

Where do I start?

We recommend you start with the Information for NQSWs section below. You can work through this in any order. We’ve included information below on your registration requirements, transitions and engaging in professional supervision.

If you are employed by an organisation that is part of our early implementation work for the NQSW Supported Year in Scotland you can find additional information and guidance here.

Once you are clear on your requirements, we recommend that you explore the different themed professional learning areas we have included below. You can then go back to any of these that you want to focus on at any time.

You can also explore the resources directly from our home page once you are familiar with the website and know what you want to look for.

Information for NQSWs

NQSW (CPL) registration requirements

Information about what NQSWs have to do as registered workers in Scotland for continuing professional learning (CPL).

Professional supervision for NQSWs in Scotland

Information and resources for NQSWs about effective professional supervision.

Transitions from student to NQSW

Information supporting effective transitions from student to NQSW in Scotland.

NQSW continuing professional learning

Social workers work increasingly in diverse and multidisciplinary services and settings across the public, third and independent sector. While roles may vary according to specific services, they are underpinned by a core set of knowledge and skills. 

The following core characteristics of social work practice have been developed and agreed in partnership with academics, employers, SASW, Social Work Scotland and the SSSC.

Your CPL will cover these areas in different ways depending on your role. You can use the links below for information and reflective learning activities in these different aspects of professional practice.

NQSW Ethics, values and rights-based practice

Continuing your learning and professional development –  ethics, values and rights-based practice

NQSW Communication, engagement and relationship-based professional practice

Communicate effectively and confidently to a wide range of people, for different purposes and at different levels.

NQSW Critical thinking, professional judgement and decision making

Develop competence and confidence in using critical thinking and analysis to inform professional judgement and decision making within the process of assessment.

NQSW Promoting wellbeing, support and protection

Informed by the principles of social justice and human rights, actively promote the wellbeing, support and protection of children and adults at risk of harm.

NQSW Working with complexity in unpredictable and ambiguous contexts

Develop competence and confidence in managing complexity, risk, and uncertainty in professional decision making.

NQSW Use of knowledge, research and evidence in practice

Demonstrate commitment to continuous professional learning and inquiry which supports evidence-informed practice and a wider culture of learning.

NQSW Self-awareness and reflexivity

Recognise the value of work-life balance and personal well-being including their contribution to effective and sustainable practice. 

NQSW Professional leadership

Develop personal and professional authority as a social worker including when working collaboratively across agency and professional boundaries.

Social work across diverse practice settings

Find out more about different practice areas, key legislation and policy.

Your journey through the NQSW supported year

NQSWs work in many different settings and roles in Scotland. We are developing guides to different routes through the NQSW supported year.

We are keen to include NQSWs experiences of their learning in different settings. If you’d like to share your experience, please get in touch with us.

Head icon with gears to indicate rflective thinking

Thinking about your NQSW journey

  • What will your learning journey look like?
  • Where do you want to go with your journey of continuing professional learning?
  • Do you have a clear individual development plan?
  • What are your learning priorities?
  • How will you achieve your learning goals?

We have included reflective questions and activities in many of the sections of this website. You can use our NQSW Reflective Journal where we have grouped the questions in a format you can download if you want to note your responses as part of your learning and development. You might use the questions just to trigger your thinking as you develop as an NQSW.

You can also find these on our tools and templates page.

You can contact us on with any comments and suggestions for our website