A programme to help experienced adults’ and children’s social workers return to the profession is now open for applications.
The Return to Social Work programme, commissioned by the Local Government Association, has partnered with three regions in England – London, the West Midlands and East of England – to offer placements to 100 practitioners.
The programme is open to qualified social workers with a minimum of two years’ experience who have been out of the profession for between two and five years.
Successful applicants will be provided with 30 days’ training over 15 weeks free of charge to prepare them to re-register with the Health and Care Professions Council, and return to practice in 2018.
The programme will cover the government’s Knowledge and Skills Statements for children’s social work, the Professional Capabilities Framework, social work law, ethics, managing risk and safeguarding.
It is likely to involve some supervised practice with local employers, and will also include group based learning and reflective supervision sessions and coaching. Participants will also be asked to complete a critical reflective account of the programme and a personal development plan.
The scheme will be delivered by workforce development consultancy Chinara Enterprises and Making Research Count, which is based at King’s College London and works to disseminate research to social work practitioners and managers.
The programme aims to increase the number of social workers in the sector, at a time when social worker vacancy rates are running high.
According to the Local Government Association, latest figures show there were 5,540 vacancies for child and family social workers in 2016, almost 13% of the workforce. The vacancy rate for adults’ social workers sat at 11% in 2016.
Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said: “It’s easier than people think to come back to social work, and this scheme will give 100 social workers the opportunity to retrain without cost.
“Social workers are extremely motivated by their passion for the profession and we have that those who are contemplating returning take up this offer, as they can definitely make a difference for people.”
The programme is funded by a grant from the government’s returner programme, which seeks to provide training for people who have taken time out of the workplace.
It follows the LGA’s Come Back to Social Work campaign, which retrained 30 experienced social workers from adults’ and children and families’ social work in 2016-17.
The deadline for applications is 19 November 2017. Applications will be assessed by a panel and then some candidates will be invited for interview. Applicants unsuccessful at this stage will be offered further advice on returning to the profession. Apply here.