Have Your Say on recruiting overseas

    We asked:- Is recruiting overseas a cost-effective way
    of tackling the recruitment crisis?

    Here are some of the comments we received:-

    “I am an American social worker, working in Leicester
    City, England. I recently read an article in Community
    magazine’s Sept 8-14 edition, which had an article on
    American social worker’s working in the UK. Is there anyone I could
    contact about getting in touch? There are a few other American
    social workers that I work with in Leicester and I know they would
    love to be in contact with others from home as well. Anyone who
    would like to get ion touch please contact me on wendyc_08026@yahoo.com

    Wendy Cunningham

    “Recruiting overseas workers has a place within our society and in
    my experience has been positive, as a learning curve for new
    approaches and a host of knowledge and work practices that may not
    have previously been considered. However setting this aside I have
    to say I fail to understand why as an unqualified worker in social
    care for the last 15years, the government (present and past),
    continues to overlook the experience, knowledge and skills of such
    people on their own doorstep.

    To my knowledge, this country has had a shortfall of social
    workers for a considerable time, and fill shortfalls with overseas
    workers, failing to acknowledge or fund the dedicated social care
    workers who very often in the past have also held high numbers of
    complex cases to enable children and families to access a service
    and support, that maybe otherwise they would not have

    I have over the years met many such people who, due to their
    family circumstances, cannot afford to give up their jobs to fund
    qualifications needed. I am in the same situation. In my way of
    thinking surely it would be more cost effective to utilise and
    train existing very experienced personnel.  Surely quick fix
    solutions will never prove to be cost effective either now or in
    the future, not to mention quality of services for the future of
    the vulnerable in our society.” 

    L. Davison

    “After trying desperately to recruit locally with every
    initiative and strategy available, I’m now at the end of the

    I feel satisfied that my company has tried everything to offer
    employment within the locality that it operates in, but now feel
    that our only avenue is to recruit over seas.”
    Roger Bayliss
    CARE 2 U LTD

    “I was pleased to see profiles of the Americans
    contributing to social services in the United Kingdom in your
    September 2005 issue and agree that recruiting social workers from
    the US is an effective way to deal with social worker recruitment
    crisis in the UK.

    I am also an American social worker who moved to the UK in March
    2005 to work for the London Borough of Croydon following a
    recruitment drive in New York. 

    The London Borough of Croydon just hired more than 20 American
    social workers over the past year. It appears this practice is
    becoming quite common.  With fewer British citizens wanting to
    become social workers and American social workers seeking to
    experience a different culture, this is a plus on both sides of the

    Kathy Southard
    Senior Social Worker
    Children’s Services
    Croydon Council  

    “I am generally in favour of the recruitment of overseas
    social workers as this adds to the diversity of the department. 
    The fact that these workers have different experiences and
    methodology brings a fresh opportunity for home grown workers to
    examine their own practice and expand their horizons. 

    I work in Newham (one of the London Boroughs recruiting heavily
    from overseas) and would support the scheme continuing.
    However, it has to be understood that this can only be a short-term
    measure and until such time as social workers are paid a decent
    wage and their work is regarded by their employers; central
    government and the public at large as being worthy, the situation
    and recruitment crisis will continue.  This country not only has a
    social work recruitment crisis but also a social workers retention
    crisis.  This is sad but true and must be addressed.  It is
    unfortunate that whenever I am requested to give social work career
    advice to those considering training that I hear myself saying
    that, though I have enjoyed my 25 years plus as a social worker I
    would not advise anyone to take it up as a career due in the main
    to the pay and conditions and the inability to maintain a direct
    relationship with clients and service users as one furthers ones
    career in the service.  Something medicine and law seem to have
    managed much better. 
    Sadly I believe the day I advise differently is a long way
    Paul Marron

    “I am an American social worker living and working at a
    hospital in London. I was so excited to see the article about
    Hounslow Council and their US social workers.  I think it is a
    great way to reduce costs and tackle the recruitment crisis, as
    well as give British people and Americans a chance to learn from
    each other and compare social work practice.

    I have found the system here very different than in the US,
    particularly working within the NHS. I would love to meet with the
    other US social workers to compare our experiences!”

    Rina Phillips

    “Yes it is very cost-effective because you have to pay
    those people money that is more than what they usually get from
    their countries.”


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