Bath Spa University is tackling recruitment and retention issues with a new child protection qualification for non-graduate social care workers.
The certificate of education in integrated child protection studies allows social work assistants, family support workers and foster carers to build towards foundation and honours degrees while they continue to work full time.
Six modules are being developed, including child protection, safeguarding disabled children, interview techniques and assessment training, all of which will be available early next year.
The child protection module is already running, and consists of a one-day course followed by a piece of written work on how the training affects their daily work.
The university has received money from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. So far, Wiltshire Council, Torbay Council and Action for Children have agreed to participate.
David Niven, the former chair of the British Association of Social Workers who approached the university with the initial idea for the certificate, said he was looking for ways to improve the relationships between employers and educators.
“It struck me that there were things that could be done to offer the children’s workforce more opportunities,” he said. “And that could help with recruitment and retention. If people are thinking of applying for a job, they will see this as a bonus.”