A fast-track training scheme has been launched to attract the best candidates to a profession in social work, the government announced today (May 17th). With recruitment beginning from this September, the Front Line pilots are expected to take off from September 2014.
An initial cohort of 100 graduates will benefit from the Teach First-style training scheme, gaining two years' hands-on experience in a local authority alongside further University study to complement their placement. Successful participants will be qualified as a social worker after the first-year of the course and will be able to use a second year to complete a master's degree.
The initiative has been launched to help boost the profile of social work as an attractive profession, as well as to raise standards within the sector. For the first year, candidates will be on a salary comparable to a competitive training bursary, with the remuneration rising to that of a full-salaried local authority social worker in the second year.
Chief executive of Frontline Josh MacAlister commented on the importance of the scheme. He said: "Great social workers change lives. Today's announcement gives us an exciting opportunity to bring the best people into one of Britain's toughest jobs. Frontline will be totally focused on recruiting and developing outstanding social workers to lead change for disadvantaged children."
As well as unveiling the Frontline scheme, the government also revealed the former assistant director for children's social care in Hackney, Isabelle Trowler, is to be the new chief social worker for children. She will be spearheading the reform that is due to ensure children and families receive the best service possible. "I am very excited by the opportunity I have to champion social work as well as challenge the profession, its employers and educators too, to deliver the very best for families."
The government has spent more than £184 million since 2010 on the social work bursary and Step up to Social Work - a scheme designed for career changers. The first 168 Step Up candidates qualified as social workers last year. Some 80 per cent of these participants now work with the local authority where they trained.
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