A major initiative to attract new social workers is being launched in Bucks in an effort to secure jobs for local people and cut the costs of employing agency staff to cover vital roles.
The Social Work Academy, will be unveiled on June 16 in Aylesbury 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 entry routes for training social 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.
Mike Appleyard, county council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, 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 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 council says that 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.
For further information about training for a career in social work please visit www.aylesbury.ac.uk/bucks-social-work-academy