En­cour­ag­ing home grown so­cial work­ers

Hopes ini­tia­tive will cut the costs of agency staff

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

The So­cial Work Acad­emy, a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence for the train­ing of so­cial work­ers in the county, was un­veiled in Ayles­bury to­day with the aim of ad­dress­ing a se­ri­ous skills short­age.

The acad­emy is a part­ner­ship be­tween Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil, Buck­ing­hamshire New Univer­sity and Ayles­bury Col­lege and will of­fer a va­ri­ety of routes for train­ing work­ers.

As well as in­creas­ing re­cruit­ment into so­cial work, the acad­emy aims to de­velop the skills of cur­rent so­cial work­ers, pro­mote re­search into best prac­tice and im­prove staff re­ten­tion rates.

Bucks County Coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for health and well­be­ing Mike Ap­p­le­yard said: “We want to make it eas­ier for peo­ple to train as so­cial work­ers, ei­ther straight from school or as a ca­reer switch. We then want to give them the open­ings in Bucks so they can find a good job here lo­cally and not have to re­lo­cate some­where else to find work.

“If we can make this work with our ed­u­ca­tion en­try so­cial part­ners, we will be able to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce our agency costs while at the same time boost­ing the em­ploy­ment prospects for a large num­ber of peo­ple.”

He added: “It’s well known that, due to the com­plete with­drawal of Gov­ern­ment grant fund­ing an­nounced at the end of 2015, the County Coun­cil has faced a se­vere financial cri­sis.

“We have done ex­tremely well in deal­ing with this, but we know we have to cut agency costs, and we have high hopes that the new acad­emy will cre­ate the con­di­tions for do­ing just this by en­cour­ag­ing lo­cal peo­ple to train for lo­cal jobs.”

The Bucks So­cial Work Acad­emy will pro­vide a one-stop, em­ployer-led, high qual­ity cen­tre of ex­cel­lence for the train­ing of so­cial work­ers in Buck­ing­hamshire.

The cen­tre will sup­port the train­ing of those cur­rently work­ing in the sec­tor but also pro­mote a ca­reers path­way for school leavers into the pro­fes­sion and pro­vide an en­try route for adults want­ing a ca­reer change.

The of­fer will range from en­try level through to Masters, in­clud­ing full, part-time and work-based de­liv­ery mod­els.

The So­cial Work Acad­emy in­cludes a range of cour­ses that those seek­ing a ca­reer in so­cial work can un­der­take.

For more in­for­ma­tion about train­ing for a ca­reer in so­cial work visit www. ayles­bury.ac.uk/bucksso­cial-work-acad­emy.

County coun­cil cab­i­net mem­ber Mike Ap­p­le­yard

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