Social work vacancies in Scotland nearly double

Vacancies for social work posts in Scotland have almost doubled
in two years, but the worst may be yet to come, writes
David Craik.

According to new statistics from the British Association of
Social Workers and Unison, vacancies have risen from 1,526 in 2000
to 2,861 in 2002. They also show that the number of people working
in the profession has risen by only 7.6 per cent since 1999.

BASW warned that the number of vacancies will rise as many staff
now in their fifties and sixties reach retirement age. “We
believe the peak will be reached in 2005,” said spokesperson
Ruth Stark.

The Scottish executive, however, said that the number of
whole-time equivalent staff was 5 per cent higher than in 2001,
rising from 34,688 to 36,415 and that a further 70 graduates would
be “fast-tracked” into social work posts.

The scheme initially launched with 50 places in January can
allow a three-year diploma to be completed within 15-18

Deputy Minister for education and young people Euan Robson said:
“We are succeeding in our efforts to recruit and retain more
social workers, but there can be no let up if supply is to keep up
with demand.

“Those who complete the fast track diploma will be targeted at
areas with the highest number of vacancies.” He added that
469 students will qualify as social workers this summer, a 25 per
cent increase on 2002.

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