The Local Government Association (LGA), in partnership with central government and with the support of the Government Equalities Office, is launching its Return to Social Work programme which will look to retrain social workers for both adults and children who have left the profession.
The West Midlands, East of England and London will be the first regions to take part in the programme. The LGA will work closely with these local areas to promote and support the recruitment of 100 experienced social workers into critical roles, providing a high quality training package for individuals who have left or taken a break from social work practice.
The Return to Social Work programme builds on the success of the LGA’s Come Back to Social Work campaign, which sought to retrain 20 social workers from adult, child and family social work, who had left the profession.
With social worker vacancy rates at their highest in four years, this programme is crucial to increasing the number of social workers in the sector. Latest figures show there were 5,540 vacancies for child and family social workers in 2016, some 12.6 per cent of the workforce. Similarly, vacancy rates for adult social workers sat at 11 per cent in 2016.
Those wishing to take part in the programme can apply by visiting www.returntosocial.work. Applications must be submitted by 19 November 2017.
Successful applicants will be provided with 15 weeks’ training to prepare them to re-register with the Health and Care Professions Council and be ready to return to practice work from early 2018.
Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“This is an exciting time for social work as we launch our Return to Social Work programme and announce that the West Midlands, East of England and London will be the first regions to take part.
“The programme will build on the success of our Come Back to Social Work campaign by offering tailored training and development placements to 100 social work returners.
“It’s easier than people think to come back to social work. This scheme will give 100 social workers the opportunity to retrain without cost. If you left social work between two and five years ago you may qualify for a place on the Return to Social Work programme.
“Social workers are extremely motivated by their passion for the profession and we hope that those who are contemplating returning take up this offer, as they can definitely make a difference for people.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- In August 2017, the Government announced four returner programmesin the public sector, for social workers, teachers, allied health professionals and those wanting to work as civil servants. These programmes are being supported by the Department of Health, Department for Education and the Government Equalities Office and will use funds from the £5 million announced in the 2017 budget to support people back into work spent caring for others.
- The LGA was awarded a grant as part of central government’s returner programme which seeks to provide training and support to people who have taken time out of the workplace.
- The three regions chosen to take part in the study were selected based on turnover and vacancy rates in the region. The data used to inform this decision comes from theDepartment for Education’s national minimum dataset and is supported by Department of Health data to as well as the LGA Workforce survey.
- The LGA’s Come Back to Social Work Campaign, which ran from September 2016 to January 2017, aimed to recruit and train 30 experienced social workers who have left social work in the last two to five years, requalifying them to practise again and entering them into a talent pool with their local authority. Successful applicants entered a 12 week training course free of charge. One hundred per cent of those who took part completed the training programme.
- Statistics relating to social worker vacancy rates – Chief Social Worker for Adults’ annual report for 2016 to 2017and National Minimum Dataset for Social Care