Making the transition from university to the workplace: the emotional experiences of Newly Qualified Social Workers

Shergill, Makhan (2019) Making the transition from university to the workplace: the emotional experiences of Newly Qualified Social Workers. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (2MB)

Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0010.5 Social work as a profession
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0011 Study and teaching. Research. Schools. Social work education > HV0011.8 Other regions or countries, A-Z > HV0011.8.E5 England
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2019 08:34
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2019 08:34
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84349

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update