Social work co-op to launch to tackle recruitment crisis

A former social worker and two social enterprise experts are setting up a social work co-operative in England to help tackle the national shortage of practitioners.

The social enterprise, based in Gateshead, wants to recruit 30 staff, including newly-qualified children’s and adults’ social workers and those who may have left the profession.

Profit share

Dr Guy Turnbull (pictured, sitting), a social economy consultant who is leading the project, said staff would be offered “competitive” pay, share profits and benefit from higher-than-average investment in support, guidance and supervision.

The agency aims to supply staff to local authorities at an “affordable” price and waive the fee normally charged by agencies if staff are taken on permanently.

It is believed to be one of the first social work co-operatives. 

Recruitment crisis

Former social worker Walter Young (pictured, left), who is also involved in the project, said: “At a time when the shortage of social workers is reaching crisis point, in many areas we believe we have created a unique solution which will benefit everyone.”

Young and Turnbull will act as directors alongside social and community enterprise expert Carol Bell (pictured) to test the agency out in the North East before rolling out similar projects across the UK.

The agency has received funding from the Social Enterprise Loan Fund, a registered charity which helps organisations that have a social impact.

Social workers wanting to find out further information can call 0845 313 8452.

Q & A with social work co-op director Walter Young

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