National Social Work Development Action Learning Facilitation Programme

A number of years ago, we developed develop a sustainable resource for employers through training action learning facilitators. Through our published research* into the impact of this programme, we found that many employers now use action learning in the following ways:

  • As part of their ‘support package’ for NQSWs;
  • To enhance supervision and reflective practice discussions;
  • To provide additional learning opportunities
  • To provide development for supervisors and managers


In February 2019, we began supporting Skills for Care on the delivery of a Department for Education funded national innovation project to support 100 social work employers in developing and implementing best-practice in the delivery of the ASYE programmes (an employer-led, induction programme, helping newly qualified Social Workers transition from initial qualification into frontline practice).

About this programme

The challenges social workers face are often complex and carry high levels of uncertainty.  This is also true for the challenges ASYE leads experience when developing the quality of ASYE programmes.  It is in situations like these where there are no simple or single right answer, that the best solution is often found with the support of our peers.    Through their support and challenge in an action learning set, we can collaborate, experiment and take deliberate risks to not only do things better but also to explore new ways to doing even better things together.

Programme aims

  • Build capacity for using action learning to develop ASYE practice through critical reflection, analysis and learning through action.
  • Develop ASYE lead Communities of Practice action learning sets to share best practice and explore new and better ways of delivering ASYE programmes both locally and nationally.


Programme structure

  • A regional 3-day training course in how to facilitate action learning sets as part of an ASYE programme (ILM Foundation Programme in Action Learning Facilitation)
  • Participation in a minimum of 4 x monthly two-hour remote (virtual) action learning sets with as part of a community of practice.



  • For action learning to become a formal component of participants’ ASYE programmes
  • Action learning is built into ASYE Programme quality improvement plans.
  • As part of this course, participants will be required to support the evaluation process by periodically providing feedback about the impact of the action learning programme on NQSWs and ASYEs.


Programmes delivered in the following regions:

  • Blackpool
  • Chelmsford
  • Gateshead
  • London x 3
  • Taunton
  • Warrington
  • Walsall
  • York



As the programme is still running and wont be completed until August 31st 2020, the evaluation process is still in progress.  However, data for the evaluation is is being gathered using the following:

  • Longitudinal study  through data gathered through questionnaires and interviews.
  • Examples of learning and behavioural change through reflective logs maintained by facilitators and via data gathered via questionnaires as part of a longitudinal study.
  • Priority areas impacting the effectiveness of ASYE Development Programmes collected via ‘Complexity Mapping’ exercise conducted on each training course.
  • Identify key issues faced by ASYE leads across England collected from themes of problems presented in sets by ASYE leads.
  • Identify key issues faced by NQSWs on their ASYE collected from themes of problems presented in sets held in participant’s organisations.


Research publications