New president accuses fast-track courses of failing to prime students for the front line

The new president of the Association of Directors of Social Work has hit out at fast-track training schemes, claiming they fail to prepare social work students for front-line practice.

David Crawford, director of social work at Renfrewshire Council, warned that fast-track students needed extra supervision in their first job on the front line because their training was not giving them experience in vital aspects of social work practice.

He said: “I met a fast-track student one week away from qualification. The majority of what they did was write reports on criminal justice social work and they’d never been to a children’s hearing or residential child care unit or written a children and families report. One week later they were  going to be joining a busy urban authority.

“That can’t be right. I’m not saying they weren’t going to go on to be a good social worker but they were going to need a lot more support and training than those who went the traditional route. They wouldn’t be able to hit the ground running.

“If it’s an example of what standards are like then we have to be concerned.”

Fast-track courses run for 16 to 19 months and are available to people who already hold degrees. Students are paid up to £14,000 a year and combine university studies with onthe job training at a local authority.

Crawford added: “Fast-tracking is a very helpful initiative but you can’t expect to get the same outcomes as those doing a four-year social work degree.”


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