Interest in fast-track social work training far outstrips places available

Children's minister Edward Timpson says more than 15 people applied for each Frontline place in 2015

Demand for places on fast-track children’s social worker training programmes is vastly outstripping supply.

In response to questions from Labour MP Stephen Timms, children’s minister Edward Timpson said that more than 15 people had applied for each of the 124 places available on the Frontline fast-track training programme in 2015.

Timpson also said that 4,306 people applied to join the Step Up to Social Work training programme in 2016.

Step Up to Social Work is expected to offer 550 places in its next cohort which starts in 2018. The number of Frontline places available in this year’s intake is 180.

“We aim to train over 3,000 new social workers through fast-track schemes” by April 2020, Timpson added.

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10 Responses to Interest in fast-track social work training far outstrips places available

  1. Emma March 4, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    Getting people into social work isnt the problem.
    Keeping them in is the real test.

  2. Andrea March 7, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    quite! also not all of those will use the training to become social workers (as I have seen) and few of them will go into child protection, it’s good for IFA recruitment though!

  3. Trevor McCarthy March 7, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    Of course people sign up: for novelty value; for quick routes into qualification (like private sector ‘universities’; for state subsidised routes to state employment during a recession.

    And of course this government seek to extend and expand this scheme in the absence of any opportunity for evaluation and any evidence for the underlying (market driven and the assumption that slightly higher degree qualifications make better social care relationships) unproven theories.

  4. Nicola March 7, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    I can not wait to see another group of ASYE’s coming through the doors and expecting one thing and getting another. Reality hits within weeks and they believe having a degree no one should question or challenge them and they know more than those practitioners who have hands on experience. Another load of lambs to the slaughter…..

    Social work is a difficult job and not for the faint hearted. Please can we have more family workers being allowed to train through the open university and investing in people who understand what social work is. Not unprepared graduates.

  5. Nora McClelland March 7, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    I would expect the application for Frontline to be high – but I do not believe this reflects applicants view about the programme so much as it might indicate a view about the preferential funding provided for Frontline that creates a monetary advantage for students on this programme that students on other programmes do not have access to…

  6. Ros March 7, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    Nor does this very brief article explore the ‘why’ question. With the demise of bursaries and the rise of austerity measures, many students are bound to want to go for the option that offers an income so it is not necessarily an endorsement of the schemes themselves.

  7. Michel March 9, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    Will be an interesting challenge training a social worker in a year. Will certainly create a “different breed” who may well be organised motivated academics, but may lack that personal development that a longer course promotes. Very interested to see where all the new placements will come from and how well versed in theory and values the fast track social workers emerge.

  8. josie duffy March 10, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    Social work practice is like driving, once you pass your test, this does not make you an expert driver.
    Practice and experience will make you confident and competent and that does not come overnight.

  9. Alan March 10, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    Of course there are more applicants when fast track is state subsidised offering an income whilst training whereas all other courses incur student debt. And the placements will be poached from longstanding arrangements with HEIs thus putting at risk the survival of courses that have invested over the long term in the training and development of social workers and the infrastructure that comes with it.
    Where is the long term sustainability in fast track models that are funded on short term contracts? How does the government justify rigging the market and promoting unfair competition? And how does it justify deploying political pressure to get Local Authority involvement thus top slicing placements from existing partnerships?

    • shagufta Parveen March 10, 2016 at 3:40 pm #


      I am intrested in fast-track social worker training, could you please tell me how to apply and what qulification they need.