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NSCSW Candidacy Mentorship Program

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Candidacy Purpose

The social worker Candidacy Mentorship Program is designed to provide graduates of accredited schools of social work with a strategic, supportive, and educational professional development experience rooted in principles of adult learning. By linking new graduates and those re-entering practice (candidates) with experienced practitioners (mentors) the Candidacy Mentorship Program provides new registrants with educational and supportive mentorship to integrate knowledge, apply skill, and action ethics in their first years of practice.

Candidates gain valuable support throughout their 2500 hours of practice experience through regular, structured, and documented meetings with their mentor. They are supported as they develop a professional identity, grapple with ethical issues, explore professional concerns related to their practice experience, integrate theory and practice, develop self-awareness, and refine a unique practice framework.

Within the current political, social, and economic environment in Nova Scotia, the social work profession has struggled to hold a clear vision of its professional identity. In this environment, practitioners continually face a complex tension between social work values, ethics, and standards and the demands and structures of the workplace. On one side, there is a pull towards the profession’s principles and values which are embedded in social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. On the other side, social workers are often pulled towards a maintenance of the status quo by asserting social control. This environment has created a need for social workers in Nova Scotia to support one another in negotiating this tension through the Candidacy Mentorship Program.

The Candidacy Mentorship Program is part of the NSCSW’s mandate to protect the public. The program is designed to ensure that newly registered social workers have the skills, competence, and good character to practice social work in Nova Scotia.

Guiding Principles

Objectives of the Social Work Candidacy Mentorship Program

The profession of social work in Nova Scotia is guided by two key documents:

After completing the social work Candidacy Mentorship Program a candidate will:

Demonstrate an understanding and application of each of the above documents.
Integrate the content and spirit of both documents into their day to day social work practice/theory.

Support for NSCSW Candidates and Mentors

To help support candidates and mentors, in reaching the above objectives, additional resources have been created. To access these resources, click here.
For further information, please contact:
Valerie Heard - Regulatory and Candidacy Manager
Telephone: (902) 429-7799 x 222

Our Values


We are respectful of the inherent dignity of every individual, and strives for cultural humility and social change.


We provide accessible services & communicate province-wide to members, stakeholders, and the public.


We follow the established national social work Code of Ethics that adheres to the profession’s values


We are proactive in reflecting the values of social work, and supports innovation through education, research, and transformative community engagement, for the sake of social justice.