Experienced Practice in Social Work Programme

Introduction

Within the social work profession the range of experience, pre-existing qualification and current experience of study is very broad indeed. The intended target group for this Programme are social workers who

  • Have professional experience of not less than two years at the point of enrolment on the programme
  • If qualified since 2012 have completed the CPEL Consolidation Programme
  • Have employer support as appropriate and outlined in a learning agreement, including identified funding

This programme draws heavily on a social worker’s practice experience and this is reflected in what will be learned and how this will be assessed. It is designed to maintain a relentless focus on improving social work knowledge and practice in Welsh contexts by incorporating research and social work theory in the analysis of and critical reflection on specific areas of practice. The programme is delivered over two years.

  • Year 1: Core teaching and learning in three areas:
    • Children and Families or Adults;
    • Mental Health and Well-being;
    • Enabling Others.
  • Year 2: A Specialist Area of Enquiry agreed between the social worker and their employer.

Time Commitment

Year One Year Two
Three 10 credit modules of 12.5 study days each divided into:

  • 6 ‘study days’ divided into:
    • 1 face-to-face module orientation day.
    • 3.5 days online study time.*
    • 1.5 days to complete the assignments.
  • 6.5 related practice days
    i.e. carrying out your normal work while applying and reflecting on your learning.
One 30 credit module divided into:

  • 37.5 study days divided into:
    • 1 face-to-face module orientation day.
    • 10 days online study time.*
    • 4 days to complete the assignments.
  • 22.5 related practice days
    i.e. carrying out your normal work while applying and reflecting on your learning

*Online study time can be carried out flexibly, at times to suit you. However, each module has a structure (see the module maps) that include recommended dates for completing content and activities to help you manage your time.

Level of Study

Candidates may engage with the Experienced Practice in Social Work Programme at Level 6 (undergraduate level) or Level 7 (postgraduate level). All candidates engage with the same teaching and learning material; the distinction is in terms of the assessment requirements, with the assessment tasks for level 7 candidates in greater depth. The pass mark at Level 6 is 40% and the pass mark at level 7 is 50%.

If you have qualified as a social worker practitioner with an undergraduate degree (i.e. have previously studied at Level 6) then it is recommended that you develop yourself further by studying the EPSW Programme at Level 7.

However, Level 7 is open to all, not simply those who qualified at Level 6 or Level 7. If you qualified with the Diploma in Social Work (Level 5) but have subsequent professional experience, ongoing engagement with CPD opportunities and general confidence it would be appropriate for you to study at Level 7.

Please bear in mind:

  • If you take the EPSWP at Level 6 you will exit with Graduate Certificate and will not be able to combine this with any further CPEL programme to form a Postgraduate Diploma.
  • If you take the EPSWP at level 7 you will exit with a Postgraduate Certificate and if you take a further full CPEL programme you will be able to combine these to form a Postgraduate Diploma.
  • You cannot transfer between Level 6 and Level 7 once the programme has started – if you wanted to change levels you would need to start the programme again from the beginning.

The decision of which level to study should be taken in consultation with your employer / line-manager.

Modules

Please find below further details for each of the modules in the EPSW Programme.

Where possible we have included a module map and / or some example of module content. The module map gives students a useful summary of all content and activities associated with a module and a recommended timeline for completion. This, along with the example content we have provided is intended to give an illustrative snapshot of the types of content students will engage with as part of their module learning.

Please Note: The Intellectual Property Rights of all content belong to the Social Care Wales and materials should not be used by training providers without permission of Social Care Wales.

We have also included some selected reading for each module, to give an indication of some of the content covered.


Social Work with Children & Families (Year One)

The key aim of this module is to explore with students the advanced knowledge and skills necessary for working effectively in the area of social work with children and families in Welsh contexts. This will include examining contemporary practice and the key principles of rights –based, person-centred and citizen work and the opportunities this offers for co-production of service delivery as we move toward the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. This module allows students to consider enhancement of their professional practice in complex situations through the promotion of effective engagement and participation with individuals, families and carers through outcome focussed models of intervention. Students will be encouraged to consider how to enhance their capacity to initiate appropriate and proportionate action in complex practice situations, including those with safeguarding concerns. The challenges and dilemmas associated with managing complex situations characterised by risk, changing and unmet need and differences of opinion over action will be explored from the perspective of the student’s own practice and the principles of the new Act.

Selective Indicative Reading

  • Adams, R., Dominelli, L., and Payne, M. (2009). Practising Social Work in a Complex World. Houndmills, Basingstoke; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Davies, M. (2012). Social Work with Children and Families. Houndmills, Basingstoke; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Social Work with Adults (Year One)

The key aim of this module is to explore with students the advanced knowledge and skills necessary for working effectively in the area of social work with adults in Welsh contexts. This will include examining contemporary practice and the key principles of rights –based, person-centred and citizen work and the opportunities this offers for co-production of service delivery as we move toward the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. This module allows students to consider enhancement of their professional practice in complex situations through the promotion of effective engagement and participation with individuals, families and carers through outcome focussed models of intervention. Students will be encouraged to consider how to enhance their capacity to initiate appropriate and proportionate action in complex practice situations, including those with safeguarding concerns.

Selective Indicative Reading

  • Aspinwall-Roberts, E. (2012) Assessments in Social Work with Adults. Maidenhead: Open University Press
  • Davies, M. (ed.) (2012). Social Work with Adults. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

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Mental Health & Well Being (Year One)

This module will support students in acquiring an advanced understanding of mental health and well-being practice considerations within Welsh contexts. It will support students to further develop their understanding of policy, research and theoretical approaches to mental health. It will enable students to reflect on how these perspectives concur, or not, with those of individuals in receipt of services and their own views. It will enable them to critically explore how associated service responses meet up to these expectations. It does so through the following topics: thinking about personal and professional discourses, context and theoretical considerations, interventions and service provision, multi-agency and risk; and moral and professional dilemmas. It will provide the student with an opportunity to demonstrate their critical understanding on specific areas of practice and evidence base relevant to their current role. In doing so it is designed to support those in generic social work roles as well as those who work more consistently with mental health.

Selective Indicative Reading

  • Glasby G and Tew J (2015) 3rd edn Mental health Policy and Practice
  • Webber, M (2011) Evidence-Based Policy and Practice in Mental Health Social Work (2nd edition), Exeter, Learning Matters

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Enabling Others (Year One)

The aims of this module are to develop you as an enabler of others, and to critically consider your role in enabling others through, supervision, support and feedback, improving your own practice in the process, and raising the quality of practice within your team and organisation.

We will consider individual characteristics and traits that lend themselves to enabling, as well as explore the nature of organisational cultures which effectively support and maintain learning and development.

On this journey, you will develop skills and knowledge which will support you to be effective within your role.

Selective Indicative Reading

  • Beverley, A. & Worsley, A. (2008) Learning and Teaching in Social Work Practice. Palgrave Macmillan
  • Gardner, F. (2014) Being Critically Reflective. Palgrave Macmillan

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Specialist Area of Enquiry (Year Two)

The Specialist Area of Enquiry is the 30 unit module which is taken either at the end of the Experienced Social Work Programme or on an individual module basis. It runs for the approximate equivalent of one academic year. It is intended as an introduction to research through the use of one particular method (action enquiry/action research). You will be completing a small scale study of an area of your practice which is of use and interest to you and your team/organisation. To do this the first weeks will be dedicated to ensuring that you are aware of the nature of this type of research as well as some of the ethical and practical considerations. Most of the second half will be given over to the work itself and to the  involvement of colleagues within and across agencies. The final assignments are a presentation of your findings to your team and an examination of how it will influence your practice. The focus is therefore on practice, in your particular work place and with a view to developing a particular area of expertise.

Selective Indicative Reading

  • Coghlan, D. and Brannick, D. (2014) Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization. London. Sage
  • Mcniff, J. and Whitehead, J. (2010) You and Your Action Research Project. London. Routledge

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Sample resources are provided to illustrate the content of the relevant programme. The Intellectual Property Rights belong to Social Care Wales and materials should not be used by training providers without permission of Social Care Wales.