• Should universities and social work employers use mentors in the revised post qualifying social work education structure?

      Holmes, Carolyn Mary (University of Bedfordshire, 2008)
      Within social work Post Qualifying (PQ) education awards, the mentor advises and sometimes assesses qualified social workers' performance and written work against set national criteria. Is this a valued and unambiguous role that should be carried forward when the new PQ framework starts in 2006 or is it one that should be questioned and analysed? This study explores whether mentoring could be used within the new PQ framework, by considering the results of ten semistructured in-depth interviews with managers and academics involved in the strategic and operational provision of PQSW in the Advance PQ Consortium. A review of the literature showed the value of mentoring and details of the outgoing PQ mentor role. It is concluded that the expectations of the new workplace assessor role are apt, including the skills of mentoring and coaching, which are taught on new PQ courses. It is recommended that generic mentoring schemes, whereby one person assists a less experienced individual to focus on his or her personal and professional development should be available within social care agencies for all social workers as part of a human resource strategy. It is suggested that mentoring and assessment roles should be included and remunerated within social workers' job descriptions. Moreover, this would formalise social workers' contribution to their and others continuous professional and personal development, support the new PQ framework, the GSCC Codes of Practice (2002) and contribute to staff retention.