Students to repay Hampshire with two-year handcuffs

    Hampshire social services is to pay 21 of its employees their
    existing salaries while they train to become social workers.

    In October, the 21 staff members, mainly care managers, social care
    workers and social work assistants, will take up places at various
    colleges and universities in the south of England.

    As well as continuing to pay the employees their current salaries,
    the council will pay their course fees and expenses, including
    travel. In return the students must work for Hampshire Council for
    two years after graduation.

    Mike Branicki, Hampshire’s learning and development adviser, said
    the scheme was intended to improve staff retention and engender
    long term loyalty.

    In addition to the employment-based training route, there are six
    places available on a graduate trainee scheme for external
    applicants. Trainees will receive a £14,000 annual salary
    while studying for a two-year, full-time masters in social work at
    Southampton University. The course will include 200 days’ classroom
    training and 200 days of practice at Hampshire Council.
    Branicki, himself a qualified social worker and practice teacher,
    said the council had selected the 21 people for interview by the
    university and council.

    The graduate trainee scheme is still open to applicants but
    Branicki thinks it will be oversubscribed.

    He said: “I expect graduates will come from psychology, social
    policy and sociology backgrounds but I have received inquiries from
    fine art graduates and accountants wanting to change
    careers.”

    Branicki said the reason for offering graduate students a financial
    incentive is to make it attractive to a broad range of people, but
    he emphasised applicants should show a commitment to social
    work.

    “They will need to have worked in social care or the voluntary
    sector for at least six months,” he said.

    • Further details are available from mike.branicki@hants.gov.uk
      or see Hampshire’s stand at Community Care LIVE, 18-19 May.

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