Social workers will be able to practise before they reach the
age of 22 following a decision by the General Social Care Council,
writes Katie Leason.
The GSCC has decided to withdraw the age requirement that
students must be 22 before the DipSW certificate can be awarded
with effect from the next academic year, and the new social work
degree will not have an age restriction on qualification.
Andrew Skidmore, registrar of the GSCC, said: “The reform of
social work education and training, together with the ongoing
recruitment campaign, may lead to more students coming forward from
younger age groups.
“To maintain the age restriction would appear to be contrary to
the objectives of these initiatives. Existing requirements around
selection procedures and assessment criteria should of themselves
secure the appropriate standards of professional practice,
irrespective of arbitrary age requirements.”
The rule was set out in the rules and requirements established
by CCETSW. In practice it meant that if a student entered a
two-year DipSW programme at the age of 20 or under and qualified
before their 22nd birthday, then the certificate was
awarded on the date of the 22nd birthday and not when
training was completed.
The GSCC claims that some DipSW programmes took this to mean
that they should not admit students if there was any possibility of
qualification before the age of 22.