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The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has today expressed “an air of caution” regarding a fast track scheme for trainee social workers recently announced by the government.
The scheme will offer high calibre graduates a five-week intense training course, followed by hands-on work in a local authority for two years. It will be piloted in 2014, according to education secretary Michael Gove.
But the viability of the scheme has come under question. APSCo’s social work sector group, ASWEB –The Association of Social Work Employment Businesses – has expressed concern over the scheme.
James Brown, Chairman of SocialWork 2000 and Chair of the group, said: “Whilst we welcome any initiatives to improve standards within the social work profession, Gove’s latest announcement appears to not only cut across the plans outlined in the 2010 Social Work Reform Board, but also fails to acknowledge the very real fact that social work is a profession which requires time and practice.”
Mr Brown also said that the large investment this project is likely to involve ought to be spent attracting and training would be social workers more effectively.
“At a time when social services are under chronic pressure, the government should be investing in attracting the right calibre of candidates,” said Mr Brown, “and ensuring they receive adequate levels of training required to perform what is a highly skilled and challenging job.
“A five week training course is, in our opinion, unlikely to do so and the government should be asking itself whether it would fast track other critical professionals – doctors, for example – before it commits to this.”