Somerset steps up the commitment to recruit talented Social Workers

The University of West England (UWE) has this week been announced as Somerset County Council’s chosen Higher Education partner for the Step Up to Social Work programme.

This national scheme, developed by the Department for Education (DfE), will see nearly 50 talented graduates benefiting from work-based training in Children’s Social Work across the South West.

More than £1.6 million of funding has been allocated to authorities across the South West. Somerset County Council will use its share of funding to recruit and train 8 eight graduates who could start their career as a social worker in 14 months and should qualify with a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work in early 2017.

Over 200 candidates applied for the programme across the region, with over 50 applying for Somerset.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said, “This programme further demonstrates our commitment to recruiting and training the best possible people to work with our vulnerable children and families and I am delighted that we will be working with UWE to deliver a work-based programme for the successful applicants.

“The fact that a quarter of the applications for the South West are interested in training and working with Somerset’s Children’s Services shows that people are keen to work with us on our improvement journey to help ensure children and young people receive the best possible care and support from us.”

Sally Moyle, Head of Department for Health and Social Sciences at UWE, said: “At UWE Bristol, we are very excited to be entering into this new partnership with the Somerset Regional Consortia. We have a strong and proud history of working with our local authority partners to deliver quality Social Work education and we look forward to building on and strengthening those relationships.

“In the recent Guardian League Tables for Higher Education, Social Work at UWE was ranked 8th in the country with a particularly high score by students for ‘value added’. UWE‘s ‘Vision for 2020’ is to deliver ‘practice focused programmes that inspire and transform’ and this new programme is designed to embody that aim.”

Over 100 applicants have now been invited to one of five assessment days across the South West, following which the final trainees will be chosen.

Somerset County Council is leading a consortium of six local authorities across the South West, which includes Bath and North East Somerset Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Swindon Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council.

The Somerset-led consortium will be working closely with a similar South West partnership which is made up of Dorset County Council, Wiltshire Council, Poole Borough Council and Bournemouth Borough Council.

The Step Up to Social Work programme aims to recruit graduates with a 2:1 in any discipline except Social Work. It is a 14 month, fast-track, programme which will lead to the Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work.

For more information about the Step Up to Social Work project please visit www.stepuptosocialwork.co.uk