A majority of local authorities will offer social work apprenticeships as they believe it will increase the availability of social workers, it has been revealed.
The finding comes from a survey of children’s services directors carried out by the Department for Education. It reported that 70% of the 78 local authorities that took part in the survey said they intended to offer the social work apprenticeship scheme currently being developed by Skills for Care and a group of university and local authority partners.
If it is approved, local authorities will be able to offer the apprenticeship route to social work qualification from September this year. It would be a three-year, practice-based qualification route which includes academic learning from local authority learning partners, likely universities.
Trainees would be paid from day one and finish the course with a degree in social work equivalent to those who qualified from other routes.
“A majority of the [local authorities] (60%) agreed that social work apprenticeships will increase the availability of child and family social workers within their authority while a third (33%) did not,” the report found.
Directors were also positive about the knowledge and skills of social workers in their authority, with 95% saying they were confident practitioners had the right skills.
Only half of the responding authorities said they used the Knowledge and Skills statements for performance management, while over a third said their social workers were supportive of accreditation, while 29% said their social workers weren’t.
The top priorities listed for improving children’s social care was to recruit and retain a high-quality workforce, improve the quality of practice, manage demand for social care services and utilise evidence-based assessments of interventions.
Only 12% of authorities had a assessment of the potential implications on local authorities of the UK withdrawing from the EU.