The number of people applying to social work courses has
increased by over 8 per cent in the last year, according to
provisional data from the Social Work Admissions System,
writes Clare Jerrom.
The news, announced last week, coincided with the launch of the
third phase of the government’s three-year social work
SWAS applications, which account for around 60 per cent of total
applications, rose from 4680 in 2001 to 5070 in 2002. 40 per cent
of applicants apply directly to colleges or through other
The three-year campaign, which was launched by health secretary
Alan Milburn at the national social services conference last
October, aims to dispel the myths about social work after research
showed that a lack of understanding about the profession was an
obstacle to recruiting social workers.
It also aims to highlight the three-year degree course which
will be launched across the country from October 2003.
The second phase of the £2m campaign was launched in May
and efforts were stepped up in the south-east where recruitment
problems are most severe.
Since October 2001, there has been 22,571 telephone calls and
21,132 hits on the website, according to department of health
Almost one in four of callers to the hotline during Spring 2002
were from the banking, business and IT sectors. This group
represented the highest proportion of callers, outnumbering
enquiries from the voluntary and public sector.
Social services minister Jacqui Smith said: “These figures
are very encouraging and I am optimistic that the national
campaign, with the support of national and local organisations, can
help attract even more people to social work.”
The government is committed to increasing the number of social
work training applicants by 5,000 before the end of 2004, she