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MODEL OF METHODOLOGY FOR DETERMINING THE NEEDS OF CONTINUING VOCATIONAL TRAINING OF SOCIAL WORK SPECIALISTS PROVIDING SOCIAL SERVICES




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INTRODUCTION

Since 1997 in Bulgaria a reform is carried out in the field of offering vocational education and training that corresponds to the changing needs of the labour market. Support has been given by number of programs and projects that represent a platform for continuation of the reform aiming to transform strategic planning into practical reality.

In the basis of building the system for research, identification and monitoring of the needs for vocational training is the philosophy for communication on the labour market, in some countries understood as social dialogue.

Scheme 1: Communication on the labour market

The above scheme shows the place and role of the main partners of the labour market, representatives of the government administrations and social partners. The effectiveness of functioning of such a communication system depends exclusively on the political will and political attitude for communication of all interested parties. In case of presence of suitable legislation and qualified and motivated experts and employees in those institutions that perform key roles in the systems, the aggregate of the upper two attitudes will have positive contribution to the development of the country[1-15].

The analysis of the labour market in Bulgaria shows serious deficits in regards to communication both between the separate public institutions and between institutions on one hand and employers, employees and officers on the other hand.[1] In regards to the general situation on the labour market in Bulgaria and the condition of the vocational education and training, the representatives of institutions from the field of employment and social policy unanimously highlight the need for fundamental changes in the cooperation between partners on the labour market, but also in the contents of the work as quality control of educational and training services, collection and analysis of information about the employers’ needs of qualified staff, compliance of the offered education and qualification with the needs of employers and others [15-35].

Systematic communication on the labour market requires equal in rights and responsibilities participation of all partners on the labour market regardless of whether they are governmental structures or employers, employees and officers’ representatives, vocational training centres, district and municipal administrations, non-governmental organizations and others. In this way each one of the partners may receive trustworthy information if before that they themselves have provided trustworthy information to other partners.

Along with all studies that aim to foresee the future development, the forecasts about the needs for qualification and skills are characterized by some uncertainty of anticipated results and expected effects. The introduction of future oriented system for labour market development, which includes analysis of the needs for skills, is a good step. But in reality it is not enough. Such a system can be useful only if it constitutes a part of a broader system. Broader systems provide information and ensure professional communication between all interested parties in the socio-economic sphere. The workforce of our country is one of the most important resources that it has and therefore the quality of the workforce should be present as a major component both in the plans for economic development of the country and in its policy regarding vocational education and training. It is preferable that such an approach is implemented in close cooperation and continuous communication with all interested people, ministries and social partners [1-7, 17-35].

  1. OBJECTIVE AND TASKS OF THE METHODOLOGY FOR DETERMINING THE NEEDS OF CONTINUING VOCATIONAL TRAINING OF SOCIAL WORK SPECIALISTS PROVIDING SOCIAL SERVICES

The objective of the methodology for determining the needs of continuing vocational training of social work specialists providing social services is to increase the level of correlation between demand and supply on the labour market that should contribute for improving the workforce quality in the country as competitive factor with increasing significance for the successful economic development.

In this regard realistic human resource planning should be achieved based on systematic observation and knowledge of the workforce’s condition. The collected data must support the process of decision-making in the field of employment, labour market, vocational education and training, higher education, workforce development at national and regional level.

The expectation is that in future the organizations in Bulgaria will more and more often pay attention to quality and improvement of its workforce’s skills. The sharp deficit of qualified workers and employees is present even now and in many of the economic sectors in the country, that is why the methodology will cooperate to the managerial and entrepreneurial decisions in the Bulgarian organizations.

For the purposes of achieving this goal should be created an organized mechanism connecting ministries, government agencies, social partners, employment agencies — private or public, chambers of commerce, institutions for vocational education and training, employers and employees’ organizations.

Such organized mechanism shall work by performing consequently, in a certain manner and without interruption, a number of research and analytical steps, as well as such steps related to information dissemination and ensuring constant feedback.

In this context the tasks of the methodology for determining the needs of continuing vocational training of social work specialists providing social services are the following:

  • Systematic analysis of the labour market;
  • Systematic research and analysis of the needs for skills;
  • Support of the process of development and permanent updating of the professional standards (in compliance also with the international standards) through provision of systematic information for decision-making in this field;
  • Support of the process of development and permanent updating of the educational standards through provision of systematic information for decision-making in this field;
  • Support of the process of development and permanent updating of the educational programs through provision of systematic information for decision-making in this field;
  • Development of curriculum for vocational education and training (especially for adults);
  • Development of educational modules.

Studying and determining the needs of continuing vocational training of social work specialists providing social services is herein considered as a process that starts with the analysis of the labour market, passes through the following steps up to the development of curriculums, programs and modules and by means of feedback again and continuously passes through the methodology’s number of steps.

  1. STUDYING THE NEEDS FOR CONTINUING VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IN DEPARTMENTS ‘CHILD WELFARE’AND ‘PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES’AT THE ‘SOCIAL ASSISTANCE’ DIRECTORATES OF THE SOCIAL ASSISTANCE AGENCY FOR INCREASING THE QUALITY AND EFFICIENCY OF SOCIAL WORK

Objective of the study of the needs for continuing vocational education in departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’directorates of the Social Assistance Agency for increasing the quality and efficiency of social work

The objective of the study of the needs for continuing vocational education in departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’directorates of the Social Assistance Agency for increasing the quality and efficiency of social work is to determine the needs of adequate training courses and the measures for support of the social workers with the purpose of achieving better efficiency of social work in the context of lifelong learning and continuing vocational training. The objective of the study of the needs for continuing vocational education is also to identify acceptable options for ensuring continuous adequate introductory and advanced training of employees for increasing their qualification to work with different groups of users. As a result of the study’s analysis will be outlined the basic needs of continuing vocational training for employees of the two departments. In order to achieve maximum accuracy surveys are directed also to studying the opinion of the Chiefs of directorates, Head of Department and Senior experts in ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social assistance’ directorates of the Social Assistance Agency which form part of the target group.

Tools of the study of the needs for continuing vocational education in departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’ directorates of the Social Assistance Agency for increasing the quality and efficiency of social work

Information sources

Information from the following sources was used for the study:

  • Specialized questionnaires for employees in the departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’directorates of the Social Assistance Agency
  • Specialized questionnaires for Chiefs of directorates, Head of Department and Senior experts in ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social assistance’ directorates of the Social Assistance Agency

Questionnaires are a tool for achieving three main objectives:

  1. Collecting information about the specific needs of training and qualification of the Social Assistance Agency employees;
  2. Identification and prioritization of the specific needs and topics of training;
  3. Determining the target groups, types and forms of qualification needed by the employees of the departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’ directoratesand Chiefs of directorates, Head of Department and Senior experts in ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social assistance’directorates of the Social Assistance Agency.

Determining the target group

The target group is generally defined – the employees of departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’ directorates, whose survey will provide possibility for completion of the process of identification of the needs for continuing vocational training. The survey’s result analysis will outline the basic needs for education of the employees in the two departments. In order to achieve maximum accuracy surveys are directed also to studying the opinion of the Chiefs of directorates, Head of Department and Senior experts in ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the directorates ‘Social assistance’ of the Social Assistance Agency which form part of the target group.

Study instructions

For the purposes of studying the needs of continuing vocational training in departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’ directoratesof the Social Assistance Agency was developedan instruction for the survey that indicates the steps and the more important moments in the immediate collection of information by answering the questionnaires. The instruction contains the main requirements and is a guideline in the process of information collection, such as:

  • What is the study’s performance, what are its objectives, who implements it;
  • How are the employees subject to studydetermined;
  • Requirements for accuracy of information, precision of filling-in;
  • Specific questions and requirements for them;
  • Deadline for sending the filled questionnaires and exact mailing address.

Separate questionnaires are developed for each of the target groups (employees in the departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’ directorates and Chiefs of directorates, Head of Department and Senior experts in ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the directorates ‘Social assistance’ of the Social Assistance Agency). The questionnaire for the employees in departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’ directorates of the Social Assistance Agency isanonymous in order to collect trustworthy information.

Making the questionnaire for the employees in departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social Assistance’ directorates

In the questionnaires the questions are divided into three sections:

Section І. General profile of the respondents — includes questions related to gender, age, last completed education, last completed qualification, current position and work experience in the social field. The questions are common for the two departments.

Section ІІ. Competence level of experts and social workers is divided in two parts, common for the two departments.

Part А. Knowledge of the social work by the respondents — includes questions for determining how knowledge for social work (formal and informal) help social workers to carry out activities such as information, active listening, assessing client needs, maintaining positive working relationships with clients, preparing individual plans for work with clients, planning and management of intervention, setting the priorities at work.

Part B. Social workers’ skills of the respondents– includes questions for determining the obtained by social workers skills for social work by considering different points of view in collection of information, efficient contact with people, planning the actions for achieving the given objective, establishing working relationships, maintaining positive working relationships, applying ethic principles of social work, identification of risk situations, analysis of risk and potential damages both for themselves and for other people, job satisfaction.

Section ІІІ. Need of trainings and career growth of the respondents .This section includes different questions for the two departments in order to achieve maximum accuracy when determining the need of adequate trainings such as already held introductory trainings, types of trainings, further training compliant with time and place, duration, professional and career growth, additional trainings in different fields, required supervision.

Making a questionnaire for Chiefs of directorates, Head of Department and senior experts in ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social assistance’ directorates of the Social Assistance Agency

The purpose of this survey is to determine the competences level of those working in the departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social assistance’ directorates of the Social Assistance Agency from the perspective of managers. It contains two sections:

Section І. Interview of an immediate manager — includes questions related to review of the overall operational work such as daily tasks, responsibilities, requirements towards work, efficient communication with clients and colleagues, level of satisfaction, signs of insufficient team motivation.

Section II. Competence level of those working in the departments ‘Child Welfare’ and ‘People with disabilities and social services’ at the ‘Social assistance’directorates of the Social Assistance Agency from the perspective of managers — includes questions for determining the intentions for positive communication in the work with clients, skills for teamwork and sharing of experience, for work with documents in the provision of social services, skills for work with difficult or disadvantaged clients, attitudes for self-assessment of their own qualities and deficits, the need of additional vocational (training) qualification and supervision by types.

Processing of questionnaires

The following procedural steps have to be passed through for the processing of the information collected from the questionnaires:

  • Creating a matrix for entering of information (depending on the chosen statistical programme for information processing is created a matrix with variables corresponding strictly to the structure and order of the variables in the questionnaire. For each question there should be the required number of variables; single questions are entered in one variable and the multiple ones – in the relevant number of variables depending on the answer options. Tabloid questions should have number of variables equal to n * k where n is the number of rows of the table, and k is the number of columns. Each variable in the matrix is represented by a name logically correlating with the number of questions and if necessary the contents of the question (e.g. q8_1_male_2013, q 8_male_2014 etc.).
  • Entering information or converting the collected information in numerical order, which is subsequently suitable for quantitative processing; numerical values corresponding to each of the options provided in the questionnaire are entered; depending on the type of questions for each variable are possible different number of replies and their corresponding numerical expressions — e.g., at certain points we have only a combination of 0 and 1, 0 and 2, 0 and 3, etc. In other questions are possible answers from 1 to 5 and so on. Generally, for each variable the possible digital options are determined by the codes set in the questionnaire and the logical presentation of the matter.
  • Statistical processing — for the statistical processing in this case are suitable one-dimensional and two-dimensional allocations, arithmetic mean, median and mode, statistical significance tests and hypothesis testing.

Depending on the selected statistic program, static processing can be obtained by pressing the function keys or writing a program as an algorithm (in the relevant programming language or language commands). The so presented statistical model enables us to make summaries both at the level of measurement and in terms of trends (comparisons of results over time).

2.1. ANALYSIS OF THE RESULTS OF THE STUDY ON THE NEEDS OF CONTINUING VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR EXPERTS AND SOCIAL WORKERS, EMPLOYED IN THE DEPARTMENTS ‘CHILD WELFARE’ AT THE ‘SOCIAL ASSISTANCE’ DIRECTORATESOF THE SOCIAL ASSISTANCE AGENCY

The questionnaire intended for the employees of the departments ‘Child welfare’ was made to be filled-in on a hard copy, including 23 pages. 767 respondents filled it in and returned it, and 468 of them responded to all questions in the questionnaire.

The questionnaire had totally 76 questions divided into sections. 11 are the questions requiring general information, 62 are with an option of choosing only one answer, 3 – with an option of choosing more than one answer, 2 are open questions and 1 question for prioritization and giving more than one answer.

The distribution of respondents by gender is presented in table 1. From these data it becomes clear that greatest is the percentageage of social workers – women – 90.6% of the total number(Table 1)

Table 1.  
Gender Frequency Percentageage Valid percentage Cumulativepercentage
  Man 71 9,3 9,3 9,3
Woman 695 90,6 90,7 100,0
Total responded 766 99,9 100,0  
  Not responded 1 ,1    
 Total 767 100,0    

Interesting is the fact that 48.5% of the respondents are aged between 36 and 55 years, 33,8% are aged 26-35 years and only 12,1% are up to 25 years. (Table 2).


Table 2
Age Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Up to 25 years 93 12,1 12,2 12,2
From 26 to 35years 259 33,8 33,9 46,1
From 36 to 55 years 372 48,5 48,7 94,8
Over 56 40 5,2 5,2 100,0
Total responded 764 99,6 100,0  
  Not responded 3 0,4    
Total 767 100,0    

To the question about the type of the last completed education, 85.9% answered that they have University degree of which 51.0% have Master academic degree and 34.9% have bachelor academic degree. Employees with secondary education are total 13.8% (Table 3).

Table 3
Type of last completed education Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Secondary education 40 5,2 5,2 5,2
Vocational education 66 8,6 8,6 13,9
Bachelor university degree 268 34,9 35,0 48,9
Master university degree 391 51,0 51,1 100,0
Total number of respondents 765 99,7 100,0  
  Not responded 2 ,3    
Total 767 100,0    

Interesting information provides the question ‘Year of completing the last education’. As it may be seen from table 8, the number of graduates begins to increase from 1995 – 2.2%, 2000 – 5.4%, 2005 – 5.9%, 2011 — 8.2% comparedto 1972 – 0.4%, 1977 – 0.5%, 1982 – 0.7%, 1990 – 0.8% (Table 4)


 

Table 4

Year of completing last education

 

Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  1972,00 3 0.4 0.4 0.4
1973,00 2 0.3 0.3 0.7
1974,00 2 0.3 0.3 0.9
1975,00 5 0.7 0.7 1.6
1976,00 4 0.5 0.5 2.2
1977,00 4 0.5 0.5 2.7
1978,00 2 0.3 0.3 3.0
1979,00 1 0.1 0.1 3.1
1980,00 5 0.7 0.7 3.8
1981,00 5 0.7 0.7 4.4
1982,00 5 0.7 0.7 5.1
1983,00 2 0.3 0.3 5.4
1984,00 4 0.5 0.5 5.9
1985,00 4 0.5 0.5 6.5
1986,00 14 1.8 1.9 8.3
1987,00 7 0.9 .9 9.3
1988,00 4 0.5 .5 9.8
1989,00 6 0.8 .8 10.6
1990,00 6 0.8 .8 11.4
1991,00 4 0.5 .5 12.0
1992,00 10 1.3 1.3 13.3
1993,00 3 0.4 0.4 13.7
1994,00 4 0.5 0.5 14.3
1995,00 16 2.1 2.2 16.4
1996,00 24 3.1 3.2 19.7
1997,00 23 3.0 3.1 22.7
1998,00 28 3.7 3.8 26.5
1999,00 31 4.0 4.2 30.7
2000,00 40 5.2 5.4 36.1
2001,00 32 4.2 4.3 40.4
2002,00 43 5.6 5.8 46.2
2003,00 43 5.6 5.8 52.0
2004,00 37 4.8 5.0 56.9
2005,00 44 5.7 5.9 62.9
2006,00 49 6.4 6.6 69.4
2007,00 40 5.2 5.4 74.8
2008,00 34 4.4 4.6 79.4
2009,00 40 5.2 5.4 84.8
2010,00 35 4.6 4.7 89.5
2011,00 61 8.0 8.2 97.7
2012,00 17 2.2 2.3 100.0
Total responded 743 96.9 100.0  
  Not responded 24 3.1    
Total 767 100.0    

From all employees, 36.9 % have completed programmes in professional field ‘Social activities’ and 63.1 % — programmes in other professional fields (Table 5).


Table 5
Completed programme of study in professional field Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  ‘Social activities’ field 216 28.2 36.9 36.9
‘Other professional fields’ 370 48.2 63.1 100.0
Total responded 586 76.4 100.0  
  Not responded 181 23.6    
Total 767 100.0    

To the question ‘Type of last completed qualification’ 49.3% of respondents have chosen key competence/certification course and 41.9% — vocational qualification. Big is the percentage — 43.9% of those who did not answer this question. (Table 6)

Table 6
Type of completed last qualification Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Postgraduate specialization 37 4.8 8.6 8.6
Vocational qualification 180 23.5 41.9 50.5
Key competence, certification course 212 27.6 49.3 99.8
Total responded 430 56.1 100.0  
Not responded 337 43.9    
  Total 767 100.0    

The distribution of the respondents according to their obtained last vocational qualification is shown in Table 7.


Table 7

The distribution of the respondents according to their obtained last qualification in key competence/certification course is shown in Table 8.

Table 8

The distribution of the respondents according to their experience in the social field is shown in table 13 of which it is evident that the greatest percentage- 42.4% is for employees with experience up to 2 years and only 4.6% of those with experience over 20 years. 1.7% of the inquired people did not provide an answer (Table 9)

Table 9

Experience in the social field Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Up to2years 320 41,7 42,4 42,4
From 2 tо 10 years 243 31,7 32,2 74,7
From 11 to 20 years 156 20,3 20,7 95,4
Over 20 years 35 4,6 4,6 100,0
Total responded 754 98,3 100,0  
  Not responded 13 1,7    
Total 767 100,0    

To the question ‘Do you make yourself familiar with the available information before you start work on a particular case’, 694 respondentsanswered ‘always in details’, which is 91%. A negative answer ‘there is always lack of information’ is given by 2.2%, i.e. 17 employees. Four people did not provide an answer. (Chart 1)


 

Chart 1

For receiving additional information that may be useful when establishing initial contact 53.7% of the respondents answered ‘always’, and 39.3% — ‘I contact if necessary’. This is an indicative result of good teamwork and quality performance. (Chart 2).

Chart 2

To the question ‘Do you assess all the available information to determine the best way of initial contact?’,83.6% of social employees answer ‘always in details’ and only 4.9% are those who answered ‘I don’t make assessments, I start work’ (Chart 3).


 

Chart 3

Informing clients about their rights is made, according to 93.4%, ‘always in details’, 4.7% answered ‘always partially’, ‘I inform them when they ask me’ answered 13 employees, i.e. 1.7% of the respondents, and 0.1% do not inform them. Five employees did not answer this question. (Chart 4)


 

 

Chart 4

Clarifications about the obligations and responsibilities of the social worker, as well as those of the department in which they work is made ‘always in details’ 72.8%, ‘always but partially’ – 17.9%, 8.5% answered I explain when asked’, and ‘I don’t explain’ answered barely 0.8% of the respondents. (Chart 5).


Chart 5

To the questions for helping the clients to understand the information related to their case, to express their expectations, to take informed decision, 85.5% of the respondentsanswered ‘always, in details’ and only 0.5% of the inquiredanswered ‘I don’t help’. (Chart 6).

Chart 6

To the question ‘Do you listen to your clients actively?’95.9% answer – ‘always in details’, 4.1% answer – ‘always but partially’. Two employees didn’t answer and nobody answered ‘I don’t listen, because I’m not interested’ and ‘I don’t listen because I don’t have enough time’. (Chart 7)

 

Chart 7

When assessing the clients’ needs, 88.1% of the social workers take into consideration their particularities, the existing risks and options, as well as the regulatory deeds ‘always in detail’. 6.9% of the respondents answer ‘always but partially’,2.9% ‘take into consideration only the regulatory deeds’ and barely 2.1% answered ‘I can’t take everything into consideration’. Two of the social workers did not provide an answer. (Chart 8).


Chart 8

Despite their busy workdays 78.4% of the social workers maintain positive business relations with clients ‘always’ and 20.2% answer ‘not always, depends on the client’. Positive business attitude depending on their mood for the day applies to 1.1% of the social workers and two employees are ‘never’ positive. The result is shown in Table 10.


Table 10

Are you capable of maintaining positive business relations with clients?

 

Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Always 597 77,8 78,4 78,4
Not always, depends on my mood for the day 8 1,0 1,1 79,5
Not always, depends on the client 154 20,1 20,2 99,7
Never 2 0,3 0,3 100,0
Total responded 761 99,2 100,0  
  Not responded 6 ,8    
Total 767 100,0    


72.8%
of the inquired social workers ‘always’ make individual plans for work with clients. 15.3% of the respondents answered ‘always, but not so detailed’, and 8.8% of them – ‘always, I copy from other similar ones’. Only 2.3% do not make individual plans and 16 employees did not answer this question. The results are shown in Table 11.


 

Table 11

Do you make individual plans for work with clients? Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Always, detailed 547 71.3 72.8 72.8
Always, but not so detailed 115 15.0 15.3 88.1
Always, I copy from other similar ones 66 8.6 8.8 96.9
I don’t make 22 2.9 2.9 99.9
No 1 0.1 0.1 100.0
Total responded 751 97.9 100.0  
  Not responded 16 2.1    
Total 767 100.0    

The cooperation with colleagues and other specialists at work is supported by 98.7% of the respondents and only 1.3% of them don’t trust their colleagues’ competence and marked the answer: ‘I don’t discuss because they are not so competent’ (chart 9).


Chart 9


40.1% of the respondents manage to handle without difficulties with behaviour that represents a risk of the social worker’s work and 48.7% of them encounter some insignificant difficulties. 9.5 % of the employees encounter significant difficulties and 1.8% of them encounter very serious difficulties and are incapable of handling with risky behaviour. The results are shown in Chart 10.


Chart 10

To the question ‘Are you capable of planning and managing the intervention in a way that will positively change the risky behaviour?’ 84.3% of the respondents answered that they are capable and manage with some insignificant difficulties. 14.3% encounter significantdifficulties, and 1.4% of the respondents are incapable of doing so – chart 11.


Chart 11

Planning and undertaking immediate actions for meeting urgent needs and requirements of clients is done ‘always, every day’ by 66.5% of the department’s employees and ‘always, but not every day’ by 27.4%. Barely 5.6% of the respondents answer ‘not always because they are too many’ and 0.5% answer — No, because I don’t have enough time. The results are shown in Chart 12.


Chart 12

To the question ‘Do you follow the changes in the regulatory deeds related to your work?’ employees predominantly gave positive answers as 46.1% inform themselves once a week and 37.7% — once a month. The remaining 13.0% rely that the managers will do this and 3.3% rely on their colleagues’ competence. As it may be seen in Chart 13, three employees did not answer this question.

Chart 13

 

50.7%of the respondents in the department can handle the ethical dilemmas and conflicts at work and manage their workload because they possess knowledge, techniques and experience for this. Serious difficulties however encounter 44.4% of the social workers and barely 0.8% cannot handle because they don’t have knowledge and techniques for this. Five employees of the department didn’t answer as it may be seen in Chart 14.


Chart 14

To the question whether their work requires continuous improvement of qualification 56.0% of the inquired answeredonce per 6 months, followed by 36.1% who answered- one per year. 6.4% answered that improvement of qualification is not needed because ‘there aren’t many changes’ and 1.5% answered because ‘it is unnecessary’. Fourteen of the participants in the survey did not answer the question as it may be seen in Table 12.


Table 12

Does your require continuous improvement of qualification?

 

Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Yes, once per 6 months 422 55.0 56.0 56.0
Yes, once a year 272 35.5 36.1 92.2
No, because there aren’t many changes 48 6.3 6.4 98.5
No, because it is unnecessary 11 1.4 1.5 100.0
Total responded 753 98.2 100.0  
  Not responded 14 1.8    
Total 767 100.0    

Professional contacts with colleagues within and outside the organization are maintained by 95.8% of the department’s employees, as 37.8% of them contact their colleagues every day and the other 58.0% not always. 3.5% of the respondentsrely on their managers to guide their work and 0.7% answered that they don’t maintain such contacts ‘because it is unnecessary’ and ‘because I don’t have time’. Only five employees did not answer this question. Data may be seen in chart 15.


Chart 15

To the open question about what causes the difficulties in the performance of the activities in social work as a whole, are given answers comprising issues in 20 areas.In the first place, with20.2% areanswersstating that there is lack of equipment and supplies in the workplace.Secondly, with 9.6% are answers emphasising on big workload and many work cases. In third place with 7.0% are answers stating lack of suitable facilities and poor working conditions.In fourth place, 5.1% say that there is no assistance on behalf of the users. In the fifth place, with 4.4% are answers stating lack of organized transport and big distance of the workplace to the clients. Interesting is the fact that all 767 social workers from the departments ‘Child Welfare’ answered this question. The results are shown in details in Chart 16.


Chart 16

For the mastering of their professional duties and fulfilling them without problems 42.2% of the respondents said that they need ‘more than 4 weeks’, and 22.9% — ‘up to 4 weeks’. 16.0% still have problems with performance. 19 employees couldn’t decide and did not answer this question. Data are shown in Table 13.


 

Table 13

When you started work, how long did it take you to master your professional duties and fulfil them smoothly?

 

Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  1 week 27 3.5 3.6 3.6
Up to2weeks 48 6.3 6.4 10.0
Up to3weeks 66 8.6 8.8 18.9
Up to4weeks 171 22.3 22.9 41.7
More than 4 weeks 316 41.2 42.2 84.0
I still have difficulties in fulfilment 120 15.6 16.0 100.0
Total responded 748 97.5 100.0  
  Not responded 19 2.5    
Total 767 100.0    

The skills for social work of the respondents correspond to their knowledge. When studying and analysing the results from part B it was found that there is an absolute percentageratio between knowledge and skills for questions from 1 to 16 and from 19 to 21 in part B of the questionnaire.

To the question ‘Do you make distinction between different intervention theories, policies, procedures and methods?’ 75.7% of the respondents do not encounter any difficulties and 20.9% are managing but encounter significant difficulties. A small part of the employees – 3.3% cannot manage and rely on their colleagues’ help. Seven social workers did not answer this question as may be seen in Table 14.


Table 14

Do you make distinction between different intervention theories, policies, procedures and methods? Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Yes, absolutely 575 75.0 75.7 75.7
Yes, but I encounter significant difficulties 159 20.7 20.9 96.6
I can’t manage because I encounter extremely serious difficulties 1 0.1 0.1 96.7
I can’t manage, I rely on my colleagues’ help 25 3.3 3.3 100.0
Total responded 760 99.1 100.0  
  Not responded 7 0.9    
Total 767 100.0    

When working with people in different problematic situations, 89.0% of the employees start analysing the consequences of social inequality, discrimination and social exclusion, and 9.3% encounter significant difficulties. 1.4% of the inquired social workers rely on their colleagues’ help. Only three employees from ‘Child welfare’ department did not answer this question. Information is shown in Table 15.


Table 15

When working with people in different problematic situations are you capable of analysing the consequences of social inequality, discrimination and social exclusion? Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Yes, absolutely 680 88.7 89.0 89.0
Yes, but I encounter significant difficulties 71 9.3 9.3 98.3
I can’t manage because I encounter extremely serious difficulties 2 0.3 0.3 98.6
I can’t manage, I rely on my colleagues’ help 11 1.4 1.4 100.0
Total responded 764 99.6 100.0  
  Not responded 3 .4    
Total 767 100.0    

94.4% of the employees in the departments manage to overcome the prejudicestowards clients in social work. The other 5.6% of the respondentsdepend on other factors such as current mood, the colleagues and the clients. Only four employees did not answer this question. Data are shown in Table 16.

 

Table 16

Do you manage to overcome your prejudices towards clients in social work? Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Yes, I am always doing my best 720 93.9 94.4 94.4
Not always, depends on my mood for the day 14 1.8 1.8 96.2
Not always, depends on my colleagues and the client 15 2.0 2.0 98.2
I can’t say 14 1.8 1.8 100.0
Total responded 763 99.5 100.0  
  Not responded 4 .5    
Total 767 100.0    

41.3% of the social workers are completely satisfied with their job, and 54.1% say that they are partially satisfied. 4.4% of the employees in the departments are dissatisfied. Only two employees did not answer this question. (Table 17).


Table 17

Are you satisfied with your job? Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Yes 316 41.2 41.3 41.3
Partially 415 54.1 54.2 95.6
No 34 4.4 4.4 100.0
Total responded 765 99.7 100.0  
  Not responded 2 .3    
Total 767 100.0    

Interesting is the fact that 31.8% of the employees in the ‘Child Welfare’ departments said that their expectations for the job as a social worker were totally confirmed, partially confirmed are the expectations of 57.3% and not confirmed are those of 10.9% of the respondents. Thirteen employees did not answer this question, as it may be seen in Table 18 and Chart 17.


Table 18

Were your expectations for the job as social worker confirmed? Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Yes 240 31.3 31.8 31.8
Partially 432 56.3 57.3 89.1
No 82 10.7 10.9 100.0
Total responded 754 98.3 100.0  
  Not responded 13 1.7    
Total 767 100.0    

Chart 17

 

To the question ‘If you have the chance to work in another field, would you leave the social one?’ 18.6% answered ‘definitely yes’. 57.00% are not sure and 24.4% of the respondents answered ‘definitely no’. Thirteen employees did not answer this question. Data are shown in Table 19.


Table 19

If you have the chance to work in another field, would you leave the social one? Frequency Percentage Validpercentage Cumulativepercentage
  Definitely yes 140 18.3 18.6 18.6
I am not sure 430 56.1 57.0 75.6
Definitely no 184 24.0 24.4 100.0
Total responded 754 98.3 100.0  
  Not responded 13 1.7    
Total 767 100.0    

The need of trainings and career growth of the respondents is studied and analysed in details in Section III of the questionnaire.

To the question ‘When you started work in your department did you undergo an introductory training?’, 46.5 % of the employees in the departments answered ‘yes’, 23.1% passed introductory training ‘partially’ and 30.4% said they weren’t trained. Eight social workers did not answer this question. The results are shown in chart 18.


Chart 18

 

In trainings organized by the Social Assistance Agency participate 29.9% of the social workers, 24.8% participate ‘partially’, and 45.3% definitely do not participate in trainings. Great number of the participants – 1.8% did not answer this question. The results may be seen in chart 19.


Chart 19

To the question about what type of trainings as an organizational form are needed for the employees in the “Child Welfare’ department, with an option to combine few types, 43.6% of the respondents say that they need specialized, focused on practice training, 28.4% of them prefer participation in a specialized forum with the purpose of best practice transfer. 14.3% say they need narrowly specialized talk, seminar, and 7.0%prefer distant training. All participants answered this question as 59.4% of the social workers in the departments gave more than one answer. The results are shown in chart 20.

 

Chart 20

When asked about the time that the trainingin which respondents would participate should be held, 52.1% stated that it should be held during work, with almost equal numbers of rates 16.0% and 16.5 % are employees who prefer trainings to be held after hours, up to 2 hours or in one day of the weekend. 8.8% of the respondentsare ready to use few days of paid annual leave and to participate in advanced training, and 6.6% of the inquired social workers answered that trainingsshould be held during the weekend. Data are shown in Chart 21.


Chart 21                                                                                                                                                              

          

When asked about the place where the trainingsin which respondents would participate should be held, 47.0% of the respondents answered that they prefer trainings that are held in the same place where they work. 30.4% are willing to travel and take part in trainings held elsewhere, and 22.7% prefer trainings to be held at the workplace. 80.1% of the employees gave one answer and the remaining 19.9% gave two answers. (Chart 22).


Chart 22

When asked about the optimum duration of the training in which the respondents would participate, 48.1% answered that it should be within a period of 3 days and 29.3% say they could spend up to 10 days (in modules) if needed to take part in training for improving their professional qualification. Only 14.9% say they would be able to participate in training that lasts up to 1 day. 7.7% of the departments’ employees chose longer (more that 1 month) trainings in modules. Data are shown in Chart 23.


Chart 23

To the question about what should be emphasized when organizing the advanced trainings,are given various answers according toall proposed in the questionnaire. In the first place, 50.5% of the respondents require lecturers to be qualified and competent, well prepared, aware of the social workers’ problems and providing quality training. In the second place, 28.8% emphasize on the selection of detailed materials that may be used during and after the training. Next, 15.2% of the employees rely to participate in trainings organized and provided with resources of the Social Assistance Agency, and 5.4% of the respondents prefer trainings to be performed by university lecturers. (Chart 24)

Chart 24

When asked about what would be useful for the professional and career development of social workers, the respondents answered the following way, and data are shown in chart 25:

-Participation in specialized training – supported by 29.7%

  • Exchange of good practices — supported by 29.2 %
  • Exchange of information with other colleagues from the country — 13.6%chose this option
  • Receiving specialized literature – supported by 7% of the respondents
  • Providing expert solution to a problem 7%of the respondents say that this is of great importance for social workers
  • Access to samples of internal administrative documents – 4.1% chose this answer

 

Chart 25

The answers of the question about what additional training do the social workers need are in 15 different fields, prioritized as follows:

Subject of the additional training Percentage
1. Competences and skills for work in critical situations, pressure and stress 22.20%
2. Competence for dealing directly with users/clients 10.80%
3. Competence for making social diagnosis 8.40%
4. Analysis, social planning and forecasting skills 8.30%
5. Competence for decision-making 7.60%
6. Competence for identification of needs and options 7.40%
7. Competence and skills for individual and team work 6.40%
8. Cognitive competence 5.60%
9. General competence –personal and behaviour skills and characteristics 5.20%
10. Administrative competence 5.10%
11. Technical skills and competences 3.40%
12. Management competences 2.70%
13. Organizational competence 2.60%
14. Communication competence 2.20%
15. Entrepreneurial competence 2.20%

With a big share, in the first place – 22.2% of all respondents, regardless of their professional experience state that a specialized training on Competences and skills for work in critical situations, pressure and stress’should be organized. This gives us grounds to say that social work is extremely burdening mentally, bringing pressure and stress. This is confirmed by the answers of the next question, to which 10.8 %respond that they would participate in training on topic ‘Competence for dealing directly with users/clients’. Social workers are looking for opportunities for acquiring new knowledge, skills and techniques for work with users. In the third place, 8.4% of the respondents have chosen training on topic ‘Competence for making social diagnosis’.We allow ourselves to put in the third place with 8.3% also the identified training on topic ‘Analysis, social planning and forecasting skills’,due to the close result which the respondents have chosen. In the fourth place with 7.6% are the respondents who prefer training on topic ‘Competence for decision-making’. Chart 26 illustrates the prioritization of the topics for preferred trainings by the social workers in ‘Child welfare’ department.

When asked to prioritize the main topics for introductory training of new social workers, the respondents had to choose one or combination of few of the following pre-defined topics:

  • Social policy and legal framework in the field of child welfare
  • Team management, teamwork and communication in social work
  • Organizational behaviour in social work
  • Social work with children and families at risk
  • Organization and characteristics of the activities performed in a ‘Child welfare’ department
  • The process of deinstitutionalization – social policies
  • Fundamentals and methods in the social worker’s job atnursery schools
  • As most important, in the first place with 69.0% of all votes is the topic — Social work with children and families at risk; in the second place with 35.6% of the votes is chosen the topic Social policy and legal framework in the field of child welfare, and in the third place with 31.5% is the topic ‘Fundamentals and methods in the social worker’s job at nursery schools’.

As least important topic at the moment of the survey 13.3% of all respondents indicate the training in Organizational behaviour in social work.


Chart 26

The prioritization of all suggested topics for additional training is shown in Table 20. Social workers gave more than one answer, that’s why the number of answers is greater than the number of the respondents.


Table 20

Topics for introductory training of new social workers Respondents Cumulativepercentage
Number Percentage
  Social work with children and families at risk 331 30.90% 69.00%
Social policy and legal framework in the field of child welfare 171 16.00% 35.60%
Fundamentals and methods in the social worker’s job at nursery schools 151 14.10% 31.50%
The process of deinstitutionalization – social policies 136 12.70% 28.30%
Organization and characteristics of the activities performed in a ‘Child welfare’ department 119 11.10% 24.80%
Team management, teamwork and communication in social work 98 9.20% 20.40%
Organizational behaviour in social work 64 6.00% 13.30%
Total 1070 100.0% 222.9%

The respondents from the ‘Child welfare’ departments were asked to identify the preferred topics for advanced trainings. All 16 topics were pre-defined and the respondentshad the chance to choose one answer or combination of few. The results are shown below, as the answers are sorted in descending order according to the percentage of positive answers, displayed in Table 21:


Table 21

Topics for advanced training of social workers at‘Child welfare’ department Respondents Cumulative
percentage
Number Percentage
Methods of working with children — victims of violence and their families 370 13.10% 55.10%
Methods ofcase management for children at risk 255 9.00% 38.00%
Methods for early diagnosis of the risk of abandonment of a child and prevention of abandonment 253 8.90% 37.70%
Foster care — an alternative form of raising children in a family environment — process and specifics 244 8.60% 36.40%
Work with children — victims of trafficking and their families 231 8.20% 34.40%
Family counselling 214 7.60% 31.90%
Child reintegration – a process withspecific details 193 6.80% 28.80%
Deinstitutionalization – impact on child development 172 6.10% 25.60%
Current problems of social work 171 6.00% 25.50%
Current problems and specifics in the process of adopting a child 162 5.70% 24.10%
Early intervention 118 4.20% 17.60%
Family group conference — Opportunities for application 105 3.70% 15.60%
Organization of residential social services 94 3.30% 13.90%
Forms and methods of work with family and relatives to disabled people 93 3.30% 14.00%
Institutional roles and relationships between sectors 78 2.80% 11.60%
Social work and helping behaviour 77 2.70% 11.50%
Total 2830 100.00% 421.80%

Results show that in the first place with 55.1% is identified the topic for advanced training in ‘Methods of working with children — victims of violence and their families’. In the second place is put the topic ‘Methods of case management for children at risk’ and in the third place with 37.7% is the topic ‘Methods for early diagnosis of the risk of abandonment of a child and prevention of abandonment’. In the fourth position with 36.4% — ‘Foster care — an alternative form of raising children in a family environment — process and specifics’, and in the fifth place with 34.4% is the topic – ‘Work with children — victims of trafficking and their families’. All the five topics chosen in the first five positions are strongly specialized, generating constant dynamics in regards to the regulatory deeds and communication with the client.

In the questionnaire there was also a question about what supervision is needed by the employees in the ‘Child welfare’ department. The respondents were given 11 answer options. The purpose was to collect information about the necessity and to identify the need of the type and the reasons for supervision in near future. This would enable the Social Assistance Agency and in particular the teams in ‘Child Welfare’ departments to better plan the supervisions organized by them. The answers received comprise 11 different fields, most of which are not repeated and concern only the inquired individual. However, after the analysis of the results emergedseveral types of supervisionthat the respondents would like to make changes in view ofthe way they are being performed. They are sorted in Table 22 as follows:


 

Table 22

REQUIRED SUPERVISION Respondents Cumulative
percentage
Number Percentage
To overcome professional stress and the occupational burnoutsyndrome in social work 306 19.57 40.20%
To understand your skills and weaknesses 250 15.57 32.90%
To comment the practice of different social work methods 220 14.07 28.90%
Group, within the organization 207 13.24 27.20%
Individual 159 10.17 20.90%
To learn how to make clear assessments of your work with clients / colleagues 132 8.44 17.30%
Group, in a multidisciplinary environment 125 7.99 16.40%
To examine the interventions made by you 76 4.89 10.00%
To reflect on your social work 62 3.96 8.10%
To discuss ethical problems 27 1.73 3.50%
Total 205.40%

The results show that in the first place with 19.6% is identified the need of supervision that enables the employees to overcome professional stress and the occupational burnout syndrome in social work. In the second place with 15.6% is indicated the need of supervision that aims social workers to understand their skills and their strengths and weaknesses. In the third place, according to 14.07%of the respondentsis required supervision commenting the practice of different social work methods. The purposes of all the three types of supervision taking the first positions are strongly specialized, generating constant dynamics in regards to the communication with the client, specialized institutions and administrative work.

CONCLUSION:

This study justifies the need for building a system for research, identification and monitoring of the needs of vocational training in compliance to the constantly changing needs of the labour market. When considered in a narrower sense, this problem justifies and proves the necessity for this activity related to social work and social workers. Still the curriculums and the educational programs for training such specialists in the universities in Bulgaria do not correspond to the real, established needs, as well as to the specifics of the performed activities.

References

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  28. Terziev, Venelin, The active model of a social programme and its strategic advantage,12th International Scientific Conference: Management Horizons in Changing Economic Environment& Visions and Challenges, Kaunas, Lithuania on September 26-28, 2013, ISSN2029-8072, pp.917-932.
  29. Terziev, Venelin, SevdalinaDimitrova, Ekaterina Arabska, Linking active social policies to education and qualification problems on the labor market. Humanitarian approaches to the Periodic Law // Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe: Achievements and Perspectives. Proceedings of the 6th International symposium. „East West” Association for Advanced Studies and Higher Education. 2015. ISBN-13 978-3-903063-01-3, ISBN-10 3-903063-01-0, рр.277-289.
  30. Terziev, Venelin, SevdalinaDimitrova, EkaterinaArabska, „From social support to employment”: considering target groups’ needs in actice social policies. Актуальные проблемы социально-экономических исследований: сборник материалов. VIII Международная научно-практическая конференция, (г.Махачкала, 24 января, 2015г.) Махачкала: ООО „Апробация”, 2015. ISBN 978-5-906616-72-2, pp.10-
  31. Terziev, Venelin, Social programming in the system of sociological categories concerning market economy and labor market development in transition economy, Конференция „Культура. Духовность. Общество”, ЦРНС, Новосибирск, Россия, 2015, ISBN 978-5-00068-278-4, pp.100-123.
  32. Terziev, Venelin, SevdalinaDimitrova, Ekaterina Arabska, Social activity of human resources — a basis for effective social policy (Социалнатаактивностначовешкияресурс – основазаефективнасоциалнаполитика), Fifth international scientific and applicative conference KNOWLEDGE – WHO AND WHAT, 21-25 May 2015, Bansko, Bulgaria, Journal of Process Management (JPMNT) – New Technologies, International, The International Scientific Conference „KNOWLEDGE — WHO AND WHAT”(held in Bansko, 21-25 May 2015), Special Edition, Volume 9, May 2015, ISSN 2334-7449, pp.241-246.
  33. Terziev, Venelin, ЕkaterinaArabska, Social policy and social programming: key implications concerning development of active labor market policies and employment. Proceedings of 17th International Academic Conference, Vienna, June 21-24, 2015, IISES, ISBN 978-80-87927-10-6, pp.499-513.
  34. Terziev, Venelin, SevdalinaDimitrova, Social activity of the human factor, Alma Mater University of Sibiu National Conference with International participation,28 -30 of May 2015, Sibiu, Romania. Sibiu Alma Mater University Journal, Seies SC. Social sciences, Vol.8, N1, 2015, pp.41-44.

[1]During the study of the issued in this work, I participated in two seminars on topic: ‘Presenting the experience of three European countries – EU members regarding the functioning of their systems for identification of the needs for vocational training’ and ‘Thee role and responsibilities of those persons that are active on the labor market in regards to the collection of reliable and actual information about the current and future need for skills of the economy.’ The seminars were intended for representatives at a national and regional level of the Ministry of labor and social policy, Ministry of education and science, the National agency for vocational education and training, the Employment agency, the Nationally presented organizations of employers, employees and officers, the centers providing vocational training, and others. More than 340 people participated in these seminars. They made a SWOT analysis of the communication on the Labor market in Bulgaria.

MODEL OF METHODOLOGY FOR DETERMINING THE NEEDS OF CONTINUING VOCATIONAL TRAINING OF SOCIAL WORK SPECIALISTS PROVIDING SOCIAL SERVICES
This study justifies the need for building a system for research, identification and monitoring of the needs of vocational training in compliance to the constantly changing needs of the labour market. When considered in a narrower sense this problem justifies and proves the need for this activity related to social work and social workers. A method for determining the need for continuing vocational training of specialists in social work is developed and an experimental model for its implementation is offered.
Written by: Venelin Terziev
Published by: БАСАРАНОВИЧ ЕКАТЕРИНА
Date Published: 02/15/2017
Edition: ЕВРАЗИЙСКИЙ СОЮЗ УЧЕНЫХ_30.01.2017_1(34)
Available in: Ebook