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A new initiative to train and develop social work graduates in Portsmouth has launched ensuring top talent stays local. Portsmouth City Council is set to invite newly qualified social workers from universities to apply for their assisted and supported year in employment (ASYE) programme.

Students who are completing their degree or master’s in social work can apply to become a social worker on the ASYE programme. The 12-month scheme develops their skills, knowledge and professional confidence to ensure they are prepared at the very start of their career to support children, young people and families.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education said:

“Portsmouth has a fantastic reputation for nurturing talent as people move through college into university. The assisted and supported year in employment programme is a natural next step as graduates apply what they learnt at university in a professional setting.

“Social work is all about developing your practice to ensure you can support children, young people and families when they need it most. The programme equips graduates to become confident and compassionate social workers.”

For those who are still researching their options after university, a series of virtual meet the team events will help graduates learn more about the scheme including rates of pay, working hours and progression opportunities. Those who attend will also hear from two social workers, Lucy Collier and Liam Mills, who have both completed workplace programmes.

Lucy Collier, disability social worker at Portsmouth City Council said:

“University is the perfect time to develop your skills in areas that interest you. I started training to become a teacher, but I soon discovered that I was interested in children’s social work supporting those with disabilities.

“I joined a similar scheme to the assisted and supported year in employment programme which put into practice what I had learnt on my degree. The mentoring and support I received helped me become a more confident social worker.”

The 12-month programme takes newly qualified social workers through a series of hands-on experiences, applying real world theory and practice. The scheme will see graduates attend regular workshops with senior team members to understand Portsmouth’s approach to care as well as shadowing other social workers when visiting families.

Liam Mills, a social worker at Portsmouth City Council reflected on his experience:

“A social work degree will build the foundations, but the programme will expand and refine what you already know through work experience.

“If you are still unsure about what to do next, I would recommend attending a meet the team event, where social workers who are part of the service, will share their own experiences of joining the profession. Listening to other practitioners will help you decide on your next steps after university.”

Portsmouth City Council will be holding two meet the team events on Monday 21 March and Wednesday 13 April from 4pm – 5pm. These will be held virtually and streamed through Zoom video conferencing. Those who attend will be able to submit questions as part of a live Q&A session.

Applications for the assisted and supported year in employment programme are now open. Applications will close on Tuesday 19 April.   

For more information on the programme and the meet the team events, visit www.strongerfutures.co.uk/ASYE.