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Title: Making the transition from university to the workplace : the emotional experiences of Newly Qualified Social Workers
Author: Shergill, Makhan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 3864
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2019
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Debates about the level of readiness of social work graduates to meet the demands of the workplace first arose in the late 1970's. These debates are well documented and continue today in the Conservative government's reform of social work and social work education. What is less well documented is how Newly Qualified Social Workers experience the transition to their first professional social work role upon completion of their social work degree. This small-scale qualitative research study explores the emotional experiences of social work graduates in England making this transition and identifies the role and influence of individual, cultural and structural factors in shaping this experience. Five graduates were interviewed on completion of their social work studies and then again approximately six months into practice. All participants worked in statutory children and families' teams. The methodological design took a narrative psychosocial approach with the voice-centred relational method employed to co-construct narratives of the participants' emotional experience of transition. Three dominant themes from the literature were combined to structure an additional thematic analysis of the data: the current competing conceptualisations of social work, the marginalisation of emotion in the workplace, and the increasing dominance of the neoliberalised work environment. The generated findings were then further explored with two separate focus groups of practitioners, not involved in the original study, to consider the analytic generalisability of the conclusions. The findings suggest that the emotional experience of transition is significantly influenced by a Newly Qualified Social Worker's own early childhood experiences and personal dispositions, the availability of containing experiences and the influence of the neoliberalised workplace environment. Thus, Newly Qualified Social Workers' emotions can be considered to be both psychosocially and socially structured within a political context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HV0010.5 Social work as a profession ; HV0011.8.E5 England