£100M Boost To Help Recruit Top Talent Into Social Work
A scheme to get top talent into social work is set to be expanded across the country, including in Greater Manchester, after the Government pledged £100m of further funding.
The University of Salford is part of the Step Up to Social Work scheme – an intensive 14-month fast track programme aimed at training and retaining high quality front line social workers.
Due to the success of the scheme nationally, the Government has now promised further funds to roll it out more widely. A £100m of funding has been set aside to attract more high-calibre graduates into social work by expanding Step Up and a similar programme called Frontline.
This comes as the fourth intake onto the scheme is due to begin next Monday (January 11) at The University of Salford for both Greater Manchester (led by Salford Council) and Yorkshire and Humberside (led by Sheffield City Council). The University of Salford’s Social Work Department delivers the Social Work Education aspect of the scheme to participants.
Graham Archer from the Department for Education will be welcoming the new students at a special lunch at The University of Salford on the day to mark the new funding.
Mary Shannon, Acting Leader of the Step up to Social Work Programme at The University of Salford said: “We are delighted that leading representatives from the Department for Education and from our partner Local Authorities across Yorkshire and Humberside and Greater Manchester will be attending the launch of ‘Step Up to Social Work’s’ fourth cohort. The programme has been an important and successful part of our Social Work training programmes here at the University and we very much look forward to welcoming this new group of participants.”
The idea is that by helping students to gain more experience of social work, the programme will increase the number of practice-ready social workers, which in turn reduces the reliance on costly agency staff.
Retention rates of social workers in Sheffield have been very high in recent years since the programme was launched back in 2010.
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Young People said: “Our social workers do an exceptional job working with some of our most vulnerable children, young people and families.
“Good social work changes lives and whilst the career can be challenging, it can also be hugely rewarding for those who want to make a difference to the most vulnerable families and young people.
“That is why Step Up has been such a fantastic initiative, encouraging those who are good at working with children and families to think about possibly changing careers and becoming a social worker. Their experiences are invaluable and in the last few years we have seen a significant increase in the numbers of social workers who are “job ready” as result of this programme.”
There will be 30 students for Greater Manchester and 52 students for Yorkshire and Humber on the next course. All students must register with The University of Salford on their first day with future teaching being delivered by Salford lecturers in Salford for Greater Manchester participants, and in Leeds which is the a central point for delivery in Yorkshire and Humber.
Step Up allows people to do this by paying course fees and a bursary to enable students to continue to support families and afford living costs. The programme has attracted people from diverse communities and age ranges and those from occupations such as head teachers, probation officers, and family support workers with years of life experience.