Newly Qualified Social Worker Conference 2021

Shaping Our Future: Power, Partnership and Participation

This conference ran on the 17th of May 2021. This page holds all the information regarding the conference for reference.

The conference is open to all final year students and newly qualified social workers across Scotland. If you are completing your studies or in the first two years of practice, you are very welcome to attend. It is a full-day event with fascinating keynote speakers and a range of workshops and talks aimed directly at the interests of early-career social workers.

Programme for day of Social Work Events


Programme of events








Dr Duncan Helm

University of Stirling

Welcome to the conference and housekeeping


Keynote 1

Iona Colvin

Scottish Government

An opening address from the Chief Social Work Adviser for Scotland


Comfort Break



Karin Heber


Social Justice - What has that got to do with me? 



Davie Donaldson and Rania Hamad

Scottish Government

Unconscious bias, social work, and intersectional experiences of Gypsy/Traveller community 



Kate Ramsden and Laura Stewart  

Aberdeenshire Council

Getting Children's Views - Why it is important and some ideas for doing it 



Colin Turbett


Rediscovering and Mainstreaming Community Social Work in Scotland 


Comfort Break


Keynote 2

Dr Trish McCulloch

University of Dundee

Latest findings from the SSSC NQSW Longitudinal Study



Gillian Ferguson and George Burton


Bringing CPL to life- Helping you to meet your continuous professional learning (CPL) registration requirements as a newly qualified social worker



Tina Laurie and Gillian Ritch


Social Work in Remote and Rural Communities



Stacey McKinlay, Demi Lawrie and Paul Evans 


If we knew then what we know now!



Dr Duncan Helm

University of Stirling

Joining a new team online: The impact of Covid on identity and belonging



Go outside, take a walk, break from the screen…take care of yourself 


Keynote 3



The role of service user involvement in social work education: Why we do it


Comfort Break



UNITY and Inter-University Service User and Carer Group


Are you the Social Worker that you thought you would be?



Ray de Souza

National Wellbeing Hub

Improving Your Wellbeing and Personal Resilience: We Have Ways and Means!



Stacey McKinlay, Demi Lawrie and Paul Evans 


If we knew then what we know now!


Comfort Break



Dr Duncan Helm 




Optional Peer Lead Caucus/ Forum

Stuart Cooper and Avril McIvor


LGBT Group 



Trish Hafford-Letchfield and Sam Hepburn


NQSW & Final year social work students affected by a disability 


Kevin Owens and Professor John Devaney


Men in Social Work 


Tafadzwa Kangara and Bernice Dwomoh


BAME NQSW and final year students

    Karin Heber    

Gender NQSW and final year students 

    Kerry Musselbrook    

Age Issues for NQSW and final year students 

The 2021 NQSW conference is hosted by the University of Stirling and delivered in partnership by the Heads of Social Work Education, The Institute for Research in Social Services (IRISS), Scottish Government’s Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser (OCSWA), the Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW), Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and Social Work Scotland.

Logos of different companies supporting the conference

More Information about our Organisations


Iriss is a charity that has supported the social services workforce in Scotland since 2008. Our work involves working with people and services across the sector — local authority, third sector and private — to improve the knowledge and skills of the workforce and ultimately, improve the quality of social services. By improving services we improve the lives of people across Scotland. The majority of our work is funded by the Scottish Government.

Our mission is to build the capacity and capability of the Scottish social services workforce, to access and make use of knowledge and evidence-informed practice, for service improvement.

Our vision is for a high quality, continually improving social services sector renowned for its effective use of knowledge and research-informed practice.


  • We want to ensure the workforce has the knowledge, tools and skills to effectively use evidence
  • We seek to embed a culture of collaboration — where individuals and organisations in the sector are supported and inspired to work together to improve services.

For more information on IRISS please visit our website - 

The Scottish Social Services Council

We are the regulator for the social work, social care and early years workforce in Scotland.

Our work means the people of Scotland can count on social work, social care and early years services being provided by a trusted, skilled and confident workforce. 

We offer a wide range of information and free learning resources to support your continuous professional learning.  Have a look at the links below.

Information for newly qualified social workers

Get all of our free learning resources on the Learning Zone


SASW is the Scottish group of The British Association of Social Workers (BASW). BASW is the UK’s professional membership organisation for social work. We are the independent voice of social work. We champion social work and help members achieve the highest professional standards.  

For more information on SASW please visit our website - and for membership information visit here -

The University of Stirling 

The University of Stirling is Top 10 in the UK for Social Policy (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023). We offer a number of course for students to help develop and provide the necessary practical skills for professional practice as a social worker. 

MSc Applied Professional Studies 

You may have just qualified … At some point you’ll be looking for further study options. At Stirling University we have our MSc/PGDip/ PG Cert in Applied Professional Studies. It has five specialist pathways:  

  • Adult Services, Support and Protection, 
  • Advanced Practice Skills (Child Welfare and Protection), 
  • Child Welfare and Protection,  
  • Management and Leadership in Social Services  
  • Social Work Practice Education 

Employers across Scotland have fully funded students to undertake certificates on all our pathways. The attraction of our MSc. ‘shell’ is that you can build up to a MSc. over a period of time.

Learn more on our programme website 

MSc Social Work Studies

This is an integrated academic and professional course which develops the intellectual and practical skills necessary for professional practice as a social worker.

We promote an understanding of social work which is informed by social justice and human rights, a profession that acknowledges the links between 'public issues' and 'private troubles' and seeks to address both. We value social work practice that has prevention at its heart and recognises the importance of collective approaches, actively engaging with and learning from user movements.

Our course is taught by qualified social workers including world leaders in their research field, and academics who maintain close connections with practice. You'll experience inspirational contributions to teaching by people who have used social work services, as well as from practicing social workers.

You’ll enjoy the benefits of smaller class sizes with creative approaches to teaching and assessment as well as detailed feedback on your progress. On your practice placements, you’ll be supported and assessed by Practice Educators who are qualified or undertaking their Practice Educator training.

At the end of your studies, you’ll qualify as a social worker who is knowledgeable, skilled, analytical and ethical in your approach to working with individuals, families, groups and communities. The postgraduate qualification in Social Work Studies is accredited by the Scottish Social Services Council and is recognised throughout the UK.

Learn more on the course page