by Maria Ahmed
Today’s Budget contains a proposal to create 50,000 traineeships in the care sector for under-25s who have been unemployed for 12 months. While there are no specific details as yet on whether this means social work or other areas like home care or youth work, this could provide a boost to the recruitment crisis across the sector, recently highlighted so starkly by Community Care.
Interesting that Alistair Darling dubbed the scheme “Care First” – the Tories previously gave the same name to a proposal to attract high-flying graduates to social work, after the successful “Teach First”.
Magpie behaviour aside, Darling’s proposal targets exactly the opposite end of the spectrum: young unemployed people rather than the upper crust of graduates.
It also strangely reverses the message from the Department for Children, Schools and Families and others that retired practitioners should be sought to plug the many vacancies in social work. Does the government now want rookies rather than retirees? Or can the sector have both?
The Social Care Institute for Excellence and the General Social Care Council have both welcomed Darling’s announcement today. But SCIE chief executive Julie Jones also rightly warns: “It’s a challenging time and this new career isn’t an easy option.”
Maria Ahmed is Community Care’s deputy news editor