Mental health social work fast-track scheme invites academics to bid for partnership

Think Ahead, the mental health social work training programme, has launched the procurement process to identify an academic partner

A government-backed training scheme to fast-track graduates into mental health social work is inviting bids from education providers to become its ‘academic partner’.

The Think Ahead programme, announced by the government in 2014, is asking bidders to complete a series of questions to demonstrate how they plan to take the scheme forward. The closing date for bids is Friday 6 February 2015.

Community Care understands that a tender document contains an outline of the curriculum for Think Ahead. This will include teaching in generic social work and specialist mental health modules.

The tender also details the planned structure of the two-year programme. Participants will undertake a pre-placement period of between four and six weeks during summer 2016 (although a final timescale has not yet been confirmed), before commencing 12 months ‘on-the-job’ with a series of recall teaching days.

The second year gives graduates the opportunity to gain a master’s degree and studying will also be undertaken alongside a year-long placement.

Ella Joseph, co-chief executive of Think Ahead, said: “We are looking for a dynamic and innovative academic partner who is excited to be involved in shaping the future of mental health social work, will champion the Think Ahead vision and is confident that they can develop and deliver an excellent training programme.”

Supporters of the Think Ahead scheme believe it will open up new opportunities to strengthen the role of social work in mental health. However, some social workers have expressed concerns that Think Ahead and Frontline – the fast-track programme into children’s social work – risked breaking down the profession into ‘specialist silos’.


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