News and Developments

University delivers new standard for Welsh social workers


Newly qualified Social Workers across Wales will soon be boosting their skills and confidence through a brand new qualification designed for professionals by the Councils who employ them.

The new Graduate Certificate in Consolidation of Social Work Practice is validated by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and is the first programme to be approved by the Care Council for Wales, as part of its new framework of Continuing Professional Education and Learning for Social Work in Wales, which aims to further improve the standard of social work practice and support social workers as they progress to the top of their profession.

The qualification has been designed and developed by a partnership of 12 Welsh authorities, collectively called Porth Agored (trs Open Door), which is chaired by Hywel Jones from Swansea Council Social Services. He explained why Porth Agored’s new course would benefit Social Workers, people who used Social Services and local authorities:

“The whole programme helps newly qualified social workers increase their knowledge and skills. It supports the Welsh Government’s drive to build a professional workforce and means that people who use social care services can continue to expect professional high quality support. The programme is founded on work-based learning. Participants attend training courses already available in the workplace, by personal reading and research around the cases they are dealing with as part of the job, and with the guidance and support of an experienced mentor.

“This completely focuses learning on research and practice and minimises the amount of time learners spend away from the workplace.”

Gwenda Thomas AM, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services said: "This is another key step in the professionalisation of social work. I am pleased that all the organisations involved in the design of this continuing professional education programme have successfully collaborated in preparation for this launch.

"Social workers in this area of Wales can now engage in this energetic programme to prepare and support them for their crucial early years in practice. I look forward to hearing about similar arrangements in other areas of Wales and to learn more about the next stages of more advanced professional learning that will follow this consolidation scheme for newly qualified staff."

The Graduate Certificate is validated by Porth Agored’s academic partner, the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. As a regulated programme, it is also approved by the Care Council for Wales.

Professor Medwin Hughes, Vice-Chancellor, said “The development of this programme is an excellent example of a partnership working together to deliver the Welsh Government’s directive. Porth Agored harnesses the expertise of those working within Social Services departments in 12 local authorities whilst the University’s established Professional Practice Framework provides the academic rigour and the infrastructure for such an innovative course.

I welcome the Care Council for Wales’s endorsement of the programme as offering a valid and appropriate way of evidencing the professionalism of newly-qualified social workers.”

Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Mark Child said, “This is excellent news both in terms of the continuing professional development of dedicated Social Work professionals across Wales and for the people who need to use our services, who know that they are getting the best-qualified people delivering at the coal face.

The award chimes with the Welsh Government’s new Sustainable Social Services Bill and those completing the awards can be completely satisfied of its value as a nationally recognised qualification. “

During the first year, around a hundred and twenty new Social Work professionals will be registered on the Graduate Certificate. Completing the programme will take around a year and is bi-lingual.

Note to Editor

  • Porth Agored is a unique collaboration of 12 Local Authorities from South West, Mid and North Wales (Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Powys, Gwynedd, Wrexham, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Ynys Mon).
  • The Graduate Certificate in Consolidation of Social Work Practice meets the requirements of the Care Council for Wales Continuing Professional Education and Learning (CPEL) Framework.
  • The new qualification is mandatory for social workers qualifying after July 2012.
  • The programme is fully supportive of the aspirations of Sustainable Social Services Wales, and the Welsh Government’s forthcoming Social Services and Well Being Bill
  • The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has developed an award winning* Professional Practice Framework which enables employers and employees to access work-based learning opportunities up to doctoral level.* Universities Association for Lifelong Learning 2012.
  • Swansea Metropolitan University recently merged into the University of Wales Trinity Saint David under the 1828 Royal Charter. Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion are currently undertaking due diligence to merge into the University.

Further Information

Dr Elsie Reynolds

Tel: 01267 676750