A scheme to recruit top talent into social work is set to be expanded across the country, including Sheffield, after the Government pledged £100m of further funding.
Sheffield Council helped set up the Step Up to Social Work scheme in the Yorkshire and Humber region – an intensive 14-month fast track programme aimed at training and retaining high quality social workers.
And due to the success of the scheme nationally, the Government has now promised further funds to roll it out more widely, with 2,000 high-calibre graduates to be trained over the next five years.
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.
It will also reduce the reliance on costly agency staff.
The Yorkshire and Humber Step Up partnership is the largest in the country, consisting of 10 local authorities and has seen 100 students qualify as social workers.
Most of the applicants had wanted to become social workers for years but couldn’t afford to step out of paid employment to train.
Step Up allows people to re-train by paying course fees and giving them a bursary to enable them to continue to support their families.
Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield 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.”