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Newly qualified social workers in Scotland – A five-year longitudinal study

In 2016, the Scottish Social Services Council commissioned researchers from the University of Dundee and Glasgow Caledonian University to explore the organisational, practical and subjective dimensions of professional social work as experienced by newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) over time. The final report was completed in July 2022.

Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Dundee are leading the study. The research sought to capture professional experiences, report on observed practice and trace the professional journey of NQSWs over their first five years to develop a national picture. The research team worked across six thematic areas: education; employment; competence and confidence; learning and development; professional identity; and leadership.

Graphic style head and portrait of different people

We also introduced a specific strand of the research to explore the experience of social workers who graduated in 2020 in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report for which can be found below.

Published reports from the longitudinal study

You can access the final report, the report on newly qualified social workers’ experiences of practice during COVID-19, and all the interim reports from Year 1 to Year 4 by clicking on the links below.

You can watch this short video that tells more about the research 

You can also find out more about the research from Review of Social Work Education that informed the current workstreams for Newly Qualified Social Workers in Scotland by clicking on the link below.

Next steps in the research

We are moving into the final year of the study, progressing with the research and will keep you updated here. Watch this space.