Tuesday July 21 2015

Sheffield City Council is spearheading a drive to retain the best of the best in social workers by making sure they are equipped with the right skills for the job.


Sheffield has always had a good track record of being able to recruit social workers and now the city wants to build on this by working in partnership with other neighbouring authorities and the University of Sheffield.


The South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership will test and refine new and innovative approaches to deliver high quality training for social work students and qualified practitioners. This will be for both children’s and adult services. The vision is for South Yorkshire to become a nationally recognised centre of excellence and innovation in relation to social work education at the qualifying and post qualifying levels.


It will be for post graduate students and will be geared around what the daily expectations for social workers are with the idea that the more mature students will be able to sustain the pace.


The council will be working in partnership with Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham local authorities and Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, is planning to pilot a new South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership which will test and refine new and innovative approaches to deliver high quality training for social work students and qualified practitioners.


Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “Being a social worker is without doubt one of the hardest jobs there is, but at the same time it can be one of the most rewarding.


“We need people confident in what they are doing and in how they handle the more stressful elements of the job, which is currently the missing link in social work training. Young people often form strong attachments to their social workers, and this can take years to build up.


“That is why I welcome this teaching partnership. It builds on the excellent work we are already doing as a council to recruit and retain good social workers. As corporate parents we need to stand up and do more to protect the most vulnerable in our society and this will go a long way to achieving this. The South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership is a brilliant example of excellent partnership working – well done to all involved!”


David Bosworth, Director of Social Work Education at the University of Sheffield, added: “The University of Sheffield has a well-respected reputation for social work education. The Teaching Partnership offers us the opportunity to enhance our reputation further and to firmly establish us as a leading provider of social work education regionally and nationally.”


The South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership was one of 22 national partnerships who submitted an expression of interest for this early adopter phase. Only four of these were approved, of which South Yorkshire was one. The new teaching partnership arrangements are part of the Government’s broader strategy to strengthen the quality of practice learning and continuous professional development among trainee and practising social workers.


The council will be doing further work over the next 12 months with the aim of widening out the scheme to include Sheffield Hallam University and the private, voluntary and independent sectors.




Notes to Editors:


Current employability rates for University of Sheffield social work graduates currently stands at 85 per cent. It is hoped this new teaching partnership will push that up to 99 per cent.


Sheffield City Council has a career pathway and it employs consultant social workers to mentor newly qualified social workers. It has a three-year early professional development training programme and social workers have to complete a portfolio.


Ofsted feedback in November shows that Sheffield is a shining example of workforce development, purely because of the career structure.