Mental health social work fast-track scheme to recruit three programme leaders

Think Ahead, the mental health social work training scheme, is advertising three new positions on its senior leadership team

A government-backed training scheme to fast track graduates into mental health social work is recruiting for three senior directors.

The Think Ahead programme, which receives funding from the Department of Health, is advertising for a programme director, external relations director and recruitment director. All three posts command a salary in the region of £70,000 a year.

The programme director must hold a social work qualification or be able to demonstrate full knowledge of mental health social work.

Think Ahead, which shares many parallels with the Frontline fast-track scheme into children’s social work, will train up graduates as specialist mental health social workers over a period of two years.

The programme is currently led by two joint chief executives – Ella Joseph and Natalie Acton, who have been seconded from the Department for Education, and staff member Ruth Coverdale who is on secondment from the civil service fast stream programme.

Ella Joseph, joint chief executive of Think Ahead, said: “We’re looking for exceptionally talented individuals to form the leadership team of this new organisation. They will be integral to its success – the experience of participants who join from 2016 and for service users whose lives we want to help improve.”

The programme, which will see trainees receive up to 10 weeks of intensive classroom training followed by 12 months ‘on-the-job’, divided opinion when it was announced earlier this year.

While supporters said the scheme would open up new opportunities to strengthen the role of social work in mental health, some social workers expressed concerns that Think Ahead and Frontline risked turning social work into ‘specialist silos’.


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