Recruiting social workers from South Africa was “far more cost
effective than advertising in the UK,” revealed Janet Tarbun,
recruitment project manager at Essex Council, in a session on
recruiting overseas social workers.
She told delegates that expenditure on repeat advertisements and
interviews was greater than the costs associated with the council’s
recruitment drive in South Africa.
Tarbun told the session how the council recruited 65 South
African social workers to fill long-term vacant posts, especially
in the children and families section where 45 were employed.
The council employed an agency to carry out preliminary
recruitment work in South Africa and also to obtain work permits
for the social workers.
It also put into place an induction programme for the overseas
social workers focusing on legal, cultural and practice differences
between South Africa and the UK, and introduced a mentoring
Anita Kemp and Marius Van Der Tith, two of Essex’s South African
employees, said that employment opportunities in South Africa were
limited for social workers. Coming to the UK enabled them to
continue as social workers and give them greater experience.
But some delegates were concern that social services departments
were recruiting from South Africa while social workers in Britain
remained unemployed. This was especially so with regard to black
British social workers, who may be overlooked in favour of their
white overseas counterparts. Tarbun said, however, that 40 per cent
of the South African social workers were black, Asian or mixed