Children’s social work academy: A professional pathway to development

A feature sponsored by Devon County Council

Children’s social work academy: A professional pathway to development

At Devon we don’t just employ children’s social workers we provide them with the tools to actively manage their careers to achieve their full potential.

We launched the Devon Children’s Social Work Academy in Autumn 2015 and we are proud of what we have achieved. The one stop solution for social work development combines social work education with learning and development from short courses to more long-term career development programmes.

Promoting improvements in practice across the whole of the social work population is our key priority and the academy encompasses more than just the qualified population. By linking career progression and learning together we proactively support unqualified workers to continue their career journey, achieve their social work degree and move into our ASYE programme.

Nigel Stopard, Head of the Academy describes how we ensure that all our social workers are kept abreast of national developments: “We are able to keep an eye on the national agenda, new programmes and frameworks to ensure that our workforce are up to date with nationally recognised standards through regular quarterly updates.”

The social work academy is organised into a number of faculties that reflect the professional journey of a social worker, from pre-qualification to student Social worker (ASYE), professional development and advanced faculty. There is an emphasis on learning pathways that place expectations for learning and development at each stage. Individuals are provided with a framework in which they are able to realise their potential and achieve their ambitions in our service.

“Recruitment and retention are high priorities for us, we want social workers to deliver high quality social work practice with children and young people. We know they will need tools and to develop knowledge and understanding.”

Nigel continues to describe how we achieve this:

We have commissioned attachment and relationships-based practice training for all our staff and are seeing the outcomes of this.

We have recently been actively recruiting social workers who wish to transition from other areas of social work and the Succession Faculty has been able to support this programme.

We recognise that for individuals to be successful the transition needs to be carefully managed and so we provide a six month guided programme based on individual learning needs. Caseloads are managed from the start and reflect the starting point of the individual as well as providing exposure across the range of work done by the team.

Esther is one of our transition social workers and she has shares her experience in this video:

To find out more about the academy visit the academy website and see this page for information about joining Devon County Council.

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