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Assessed Year in Employment (AYE)

The AYE is designed to ensure that newly qualified social workers have made the transition from student to employee and have demonstrated sustained, continuous and effective competence in the workplace. Employers must confirm to the Social Care Council that the registrant is fit to practise as a fully accountable social worker before the AYE condition can be removed.

The Social Care Council must ensure that all registrants are fit and competent to be on the Social Care Register and that they meet the requirements to maintain their registration. Newly qualified social work graduates are transferred to the social work part of the register with a condition on their registration that they complete an ‘Assessed Year in Employment’ (AYE). 

DHSSPS Circular HSS (OSS) AYE 2/2015 sets out the Employer’s responsibility for ensuring the Council Minimum Standards for completion of the AYE are met.

The AYE is designed to provide the foundation for career progression and professional development and comprises two core elements:

  • Support to newly qualified social workers in their first year of practice following qualification
  • A framework for formative and summative assessment of newly qualified social workers against the National Occupational Standards for Social Work

AYE Checklist for Registrants

When you obtain a post where the employer confirms they can support you to complete the AYE it is essential that you confirm a start date with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. Before you begin the AYE it is your responsibility to complete the following tasks:

  • Ensure you have completed and have a copy of the Summary of Learning. (You should have completed this during the last term of the Degree in Social Work)
  • Create your online registration account at the Online portal (if you haven’t already done this during your student registration)
  • Record your AYE commencement and progress through the Online Portal. Guidance on AYE is also available through the Portal. Links to guidance documents and reporting forms are also available in the Downloads section on the right of this page.
  • Apply through the portal for registration on the social work part of the register (student registration is cancelled when the Degree is successfully completed)
  • Pay your fee as a qualified social worker

AYE Checklist for Employers

  • Check the social worker you have employed is registered with us
  • Assess whether the post meets the minimum requirements for a suitable post to undertake the AYE and the appropriate supports are available
  • Check that the AYE person has confirmed a start date for their AYE with us
  • Ask the AYE person for their Summary of Learning (completed during the last term of the Degree in Social Work)
  • Compile an AYE Personal Development Plan with them
  • Offer an induction that meets the Induction Standards. Provide information on the standards to be met and assessment processes.
  • Allocate work that will enable them to consolidate and extend skills gained on the Degree
  • Provide access to professional supervision (fortnightly for the first six months and monthly for the final six months)
  • Provide a minimum of ten Training and Development days
  • Undertake a midpoint and final appraisal with the AYE person
  • If the person is competent, complete a Certificate of Completion of the AYE – Form AYE1
  • If they require an extension, or there is a non-completion of the AYE, consult The AYE Guidance’ for advice