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Singapore Government

Launch of the National Social Work Competency Framework

Launch of the National Social Work Competency Framework

The National Social Work Competency Framework (NSWCF) was launched today by Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin. The NSWCF will guide the development of social workers across different settings, such as healthcare and community-based social service organisations. The NSWCF will serve as a career guide for more than 1,600 social workers in Singapore.

The development of the NSWCF was led by a Steering Committee comprising 16 senior professionals from the social service and healthcare sectors and the academia. Extensive consultations were also carried out with social workers from a wide range of organisations and fields of practice. This initiative was jointly supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS).

The NSWCF details the career opportunities for social workers and the accompanying job roles, knowledge, skills and behavioural attributes necessary for their career progression. To cater to social workers working in a variety of settings, the common roles and competencies defined within the framework account for 80% of the required skillsets. The remaining 20% comprise the requirements of specific work settings, such as healthcare, family service centres, and eldercare facilities. 

One of the co-chairpersons of the steering committee, Ms Long Chey May, Senior Assistant Director (Allied Health) and Head of Medical Social Services at Jurong Health Services, commented on the importance of the NSWCF, “We need to strengthen the capability of our social workers to handle increasingly complex cases requiring the mobilisation of resources in the social service and healthcare sectors to provide holistic care for clients. The NSWCF will also empower our social workers to chart their own career and professional development against benchmarks recognised by employers across sectors.” 

To facilitate the adoption of NSWCF for social workers and their organisations, a career development guide, entitled “My Career: A Professional Development Guide for Social Workers”, and a HR Toolkit, entitled “Talent Handbook: A Guide for Competency-Based Talent Management”, have been designed. The career development guide empowers social workers to assess their competency level, identify developmental needs, and chart their own developmental plans, while the HR Toolkit helps organisations understand and adopt a competency-based approach for talent management. 

In addition, the NSWCF will help social workers identify their development needs, and address them through various interventions such as on-the-job experiences, coaching and mentoring, and new short courses. For a start, the Social Service Institute (SSI), in collaboration with MSF and MOH, has launched a new five-day On-Boarding Programme for social workers with less than two years’ work experience, to give them an appreciation of the context for social work within the social service and healthcare sectors, equip them with the foundational competencies outlined in the NSWCF, and create professional networking opportunities across sectors. Other courses are being developed in line with the NSWCF to meet the training needs.

MSF, MOH and NCSS will continue to work closely with social workers and organisations to promote the understanding and application of the NSWCF.

Jointly issued by: 
Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) 
Ministry of Health (MOH)
National Council of Social Service (NCSS)

Download:
Factsheet - National Social Work Competency Framework
NSWCF Resources

***

ANNEX A

Dissemination of Products:

Timeliness Products Channels
From 20th November 2015 onwards (1) National Social Work Competency Framework
(2) Career Development Guide
(3) HR Toolkit
Soft copies will be available for download at:
www.socialserviceinstitute.sg
www.moh.gov.sg1
Between late November 2015 and late January 2016 (1) National Social Work Competency Framework
(2) Career Development Guide
Hard copies will be given out during briefing sessions for social workers
Between early December 2015 and January 2016 (1) National Social Work Competency Framework
(2) HR Toolkit
Hard copies will be given out during workshops for employers
From February 2016 onwards (1) National Social Work Competency Framework
(2) Career Development Guide
Hard copies will be made available at:
- SSI reception
- Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW)

1 Soft copies can be downloaded at the MOH Health Professional Portal for Medical Social Workers

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