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Coventry is to be at the heart of a programme to retrain former social workers and bring them back into the profession.
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 and training package for individuals who have left or taken a break from social work practice.
Cllr Ed Ruane, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Getting the right social workers is absolutely crucial for Coventry as we continue our improvement journey and any quality, experienced workers returning will be very welcome.
“However, recruiting just 100 won't fix the national recruitment problem there is in social work, what's needed is real reform in how social workers are recruited, trained and retained.”
Cllr Faye Abbott, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “I believe people returning having had experience of other jobs and life experiences can be a real advantage so I’m really pleased Coventry is involved in this programme.”
Lee Pardy-McLaughlin, Principal Social Worker for Children at Coventry City Council, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this programme as it mirrors our own approach to supporting social workers through quality training and having a clear path to development. I would urge anyone thinking of coming back to get onto the Return to Social Work Programme.”
Andrew Errington, Principal Social Worker for Adults for Coventry City Council, said: “We know social workers leave the profession for all sorts of reasons, either personal or professional, but I’m really pleased we are able to offer this route back so we can make sure Coventry benefits from the recruitment of skilled and experienced social workers.”
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 nationally 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:
“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.
“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.”