The Department for Education will spend £50 million training up to 900 social workers on fast-track courses, a tender document has said.
The prior information notice ahead of the contract’s publication at the end of the month is for a provider to train between 700 and 900 social workers over two cohorts that would begin in 2020 and 2021.
The document also said the contract may include options to be extended for the delivery of further cohorts.
The notice said the successful procurement partner would deliver social work education through “an employment-based, fast-track route”, and that participants would be embedded in a team delivering statutory child protection work through the course of their training.
The government invested £100 million to fast-track training schemes Frontline and Step Up to Social Work in 2016 to expand them across the country.
The Department for Education said the contract would represent a continuation of current fast-track training, rather than an expansion. The last Frontline cohort advertised in 2017 for over 350 places.
The cost per social worker over the two-year contract could be £55,000, if you divide the total contract cost by the maximum number of social workers that could be trained. An evaluation of the cost of routes into social work carried out in 2016 said the cost per newly qualified social worker on Frontline was £46,024, while the cost on Step Up To Social Work was £40,413.
The description said the provider should work to attract high-performing graduates with leadership potential “who might not otherwise have considered a career in social work”.