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Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Greater London Post Qualifying

Written by GLPQ

The Greater London Post Qualifying Consortium is the reference point for all qualified social workers in the Greater London area who wish to obtain UK-wide formal recognition for their continuing professional development through the post qualifying framework. Over 1400 social workers are registered with GLPQ and are working towards improving care services whilst enhancing their professional status and prospects.

GLPQ is one of 17 English Post Qualifying Consortia approved by the General Social Care Council (GSCC) to provide the framework for the social work post qualifying awards.

Through the post qualifying awards, GLPQ offers support and guidance on continuing professional development for candidates, mentors and employers. A large number of academic programmes offered by universities and training providers have received professional accreditation through GLPQ and other consortia. Professional accreditation ensures that social workers are able to demonstrate how their learning has improved their skills and practice.

The Post Qualifying Award in Social Work (PQSW) gives recognition to candidates who have developed the full range of competencies required of a social worker; shown competence in work of increasing complexity and taken responsibility for the learning and practice of others. The Advanced Award in Social Work (AASW) gives recognition at a higher level to social workers who have acquired extensive practice experience and expertise, made a significant contribution to service developments, delivery and evaluation and demonstrated the skills and capacity for leadership.

Why should I consider a further qualification?

Candidates for a Post Qualifying or Advanced Award in Social Work will have their own reasons and motivations for wanting to gain a further qualification. These might include some or all of the following:

* recognition of your existing knowledge and skills;
* expanding and enhancing your abilities;
* acquiring additional skills to cope with a consistently demanding job;
* progressing your career with your current employer;
* enhancing job prospects with future employers;
* personal commitment to lifelong learning;
* and the opportunity to study a particular area of interest in greater depth.

How do I gain an award?

First, you need to work out what will best suit both you and your employer. Factors to consider include:

* how the award will fit in with your overall career plan
* how it will be financed
* the amount of time you are able and wish to spend on gaining the award
* your existing personal and professional commitments
* what support is available for continuing professional development in your organisation.

Post qualifying training for social workers recognises that personal and professional circumstances can be different for every candidate. The awards have therefore been designed to be flexible and are based on a Credit Accumulation and Transfer System (CATS). You can work to a timescale that suits your needs, collecting credits over a period of time. There is also a choice of two routes to an award — you can take either one, or a mixture of both:

* you can successfully complete an accredited course or programme of study
* you can develop and complete a portfolio relating to work-based training and/or prior learning or experience.

Accredited courses are those that have been credit rated either by GLPQ, by another consortium or by the GSCC. The course provider or GLPQ can tell you if a particular course is, or will be, accredited.

If you choose the second route, you will need to compile a social work portfolio and submit it to a GLPQ-accredited centre for assessment. The purpose of the portfolio is to provide evidence of your skills and competences gained through work activities, in-service training or personal study. If you decide to compile a portfolio to gain part or all of an award, you will need an approved mentor to provide guidance and supervision. GLPQ will supply you with a list of mentors and also provides extensive help and advice on compiling portfolios.

What does GLPQ actually do?

GLPQ's key role in promoting continuing professional development for social workers in the Greater London area involves us in four main areas of activity:

* registering candidates for Post Qualifying and Advanced Awards in Social Work;
* running the Accreditation Panel — this is the group of people which assigns professional credits to learning programmes;
* providing general information and advice on the PQ awards, together with more specific support and guidance for registered candidates;
* and administering a fund which can, in certain circumstances, provide bursaries to help candidates gain an award.

GLPQ is a registered charity, with two full time and five part time members of staff. The policy direction is guided by directors and by an executive committee, who are elected annually and serve in a voluntary capacity.

Can my organisation join the consortium?

Yes! GLPQ currently has over 70 member organisations consisting of local authorities, voluntary organisations and private sector providers, together with universities and other education and training providers. Although candidates can register for awards without their employer belonging to the consortium, there are significant benefits in joining for both individuals and organisations.

Who to contact at GLPQ

For further information on post-qualifying social work education and training in Greater London, please contact us at:

Greater London Post Qualifying Education and Training Consortium
Lower Ground Floor West
1-3 Dufferin Street
London EC1Y 8NA

Tel: 020 7588 9898
Fax: 020 7588 9896

For more specific enquiries, please contact the most appropriate person listed below:

Chief Officer – Rohan Burke
(for queries relating to GLPQ policy or strategy and to professional practice)

Registrations Officer – Scott Fletcher
(for queries about existing candidate registrations and certificate issue)

Finance Officer – Malathi Raveendran
(for financial enquiries)

Projects Officer – Emma Smallacombe
(for queries relating to GLPQ membership and data management)

Accreditation Manager – Gwynn Hopper
(for queries relating to the accreditation of courses and programmes)

Candidate Services Manager – Jonathan Fenner
(for technical advice on undertaking an award and bursary queries)