Pivoting in the Pandemic: Reflections of Graduates of a UK Fast Track Social Work Programme

Mary Baginsky*, Jill Manthorpe, Graham Ixer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents and discusses the findings of a small-scale longitudinal survey of trainees who embarked on one 14-month Step Up to Social Work (SUSW) qualifying programme in January 2020, just prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic’s restrictions in the United Kingdom (UK). It explores their responses to changes made to their placements during their training and the impact on their subsequent employment. Three surveys were administered to this cohort (n¼30; 25 of whom agreed to participate): just before trainees completed their training in May 2021 (n¼23), halfway through their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) in January 2022 (n¼19) and at the end of this in September 2022 (n¼15). Respondents felt at least adequately prepared for social work, despite having missed much direct work with children and families during placements. Online learning and consultations through lectures and supervision were acceptable modifications but face-to-face interactions and colleagues’guidance were missed in placements and initial employment. The implications of this are discussed for this specific route to qualification and initial employment as social workers
Original languageEnglish
JournalPractice. Social Work in Action
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Nov 2023


  • step up to social work
  • newly qualified social worker
  • early career practice
  • COVID-19
  • placements
  • social work training

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