Last year, social services departments spent just 2 per cent of
their wage bill on staff training, while across local government as
a whole the figure was a pathetic 1.6 per cent. The sector isn’t
even managing to meet the feeble 3 per cent target set by national
training organisation Topss.
Yet in the private sector it’s not unusual for companies to spend 9
per cent of their staff budget on developing their employees. Even
the health service manages over 5per cent. So how do we expect to
improve the calibre of our people if we are not prepared to invest
The importance of post-qualification training was underlined this
week by a study that found new recruits to social work from diploma
courses are lacking in basic skills.
Managers have claimed that the poor quality of job applicants is a
major factor in the recruitment crisis, not to mention the problems
they pose on the front line.
The social work degree should improve things, but it’s going to be
four years before we see these new people in post. In the meantime,
it’s more important than ever to invest in getting staff up to
A good reputation on training is vital if social work is ever going
to attract the right sort of people in sufficient numbers – and
hold its head high as a profession.