Supervision and professional development support for newly qualified social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand




supervision, newly qualified social workers, professional development


INTRODUCTION: Many social work professional bodies and regulators mandate regular supervision. Supervision is believed to support continuing development of professional skills, safeguarding of competent and ethical practice, oversight of the practitioner’s work for adherence to organisational expectations, and support for practitioner wellbeing.

METHOD: Phase two of the Enhancing the Readiness to Practice of Newly-Qualified Social Workers (Enhance R2P) project employed a mixed methods study (surveys and interviews) to explore how well prepared newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) in their first two years of practice are to enter professional social work. A survey of managers /supervisors and newly qualified social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand about the readiness to practice of recent graduates was conducted. The survey design included a replication of a similar study carried out in England.

FINDINGS: Questions about supervision were included in the survey and in interviews with both NQSWs and supervisors/managers. Around half of NQSWs were supervised at least once every two weeks, but another half were supervised monthly or less frequently. Observation of practice was either very infrequent or entirely absent from the professional supervision of NQSWs.

IMPLICATIONS: Study findings revealed great variability in the formal supervision and other supports available for NQSWs which may impact on retention. More integrated systems of supervision, peer support and planned professional development are needed. 

Author Biography

Liz Beddoe, University of Auckland



Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, A. (2015). Supervision policy. Christchurch, NZ: ANZASW.

Baginsky, M., Moriarty, J., Manthorpe, J., Stevens, M., MacInnes, T. and Nagendran, T. (2010). Social workers’ workload survey messages from the frontline. Children’s Workforce Development Council, and King’s College London. Retrieved from:

Burns, K. (2010). ‘Career preference’, 'transients’ and ‘Converts’: A study of social workers' retention in child protection and welfare. British Journal of Social Work, 41(3), 520-538.

Carpenter, J., Patsios, D., Wood, M., Platt, D., Shardlow, S., Mclaughlin, H., . . . Blewett, J. (2013). Early Professional Development Pilot Programme (First cohort 2009 to 2011): Final Evaluation Report. London: Department for Education.

Chen, S., & Scannapieco, M. (2010). The influence of job satisfaction on child welfare worker's desire to stay: An examination of the interaction effect of self-efficacy and supportive supervision. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(4), 482-486.

Dickinson, N. S., & Painter, J. S. (2009). Predictors of undesired turnover for child welfare workers. Child Welfare, 88(5), 187-208.

Egan, R. (2012). Australian social work supervision practice in 2007. Australian Social Work, 65(2), 171-184. doi:10.1080/0312407x.2011.653575

Egan, R., Maidment, J., & Connolly, M. (2017). Trust, power and safety in the social work supervisory relationship: Results from Australian research. Journal of Social Work Practice, 31(3), 307-321. doi:10.1080/02650533.2016.1261279

Engstrom, S. (2017). Interpersonal justice: the importance of relationships for child and family social workers. Journal of Social Work Practice, 33(1), 41-53. doi:10.1080/02650533.2017.1400957

Franklin, L. D. (2011). Reflective supervision for the green social worker: Practical applications for supervisors. The Clinical Supervisor, 30(2), 204-214. doi:10.1080/07325223.2011.607743

Mänttäri-van der Kuip, M. (2014). The deteriorating work-related well-being among statutory social workers in a rigorous economic context. European Journal of Social Work, 17(5), 672-688

Manthorpe, J., Moriarty, J., Hussein, S., Stevens, M., & Sharpe, E. (2013). Content and purpose of supervision in social work practice in England: Views of newly qualified social workers, managers and directors. The British Journal of Social Work, 45(1), 52-68. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bct102

Marlowe, J. M., Appleton, C., Chinnery, S.-A., & Van Stratum, S. (2015). The integration of personal and professional selves: Developing students' critical awareness in social work practice. Social Work Education, 34(1), 60-73. doi:10.1080/02615479.2014.949230

Moorhead, B., Bell, K., & Bowles, W. (2016). Exploring the development of professional identity with newly qualified social workers. Australian Social Work, 69(4), 456-467. doi:10.1080/0312407X.2016.1152588

Rankine, M. (2017). Making the connections: A practice model for reflective supervision. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 29(3), 13. doi:10.11157/anzswj-vol29iss3id377

Robinson, K. (2013). Supervision found wanting: Experiences of health and social workers in non-government organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers. Practice, 25(2), 87-103. doi:10.1080/09503153.2013.775238

Social Workers Registration Board. (2015). Supervision expectations for registered social workers: Policy Statement. Wellington: Author Retrieved from

Turner-Daly, B., & Jack, G. (2014). Rhetoric vs. reality in social work supervision: the experiences of a group of child care social workers in England. Child & Family Social Work, 22(1), 36-46. doi:10.1111/cfs.12191

Wong, P. Y. J., & Lee, A. E. Y. (2015). Dual roles of social work supervisors: strain and strengths as managers and clinical supervisors. China Journal of Social Work, 8(2), 164-181. doi:10.1080/17525098.2015.1039168



How to Cite

Beddoe, L., Ballantyne, N., Maidment, J., Hay, K. S., & Walker, S. (2020). Supervision and professional development support for newly qualified social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 32(2).



Original Articles