A partnership between the University of Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire County Council is strengthening social care in the county.
The university and county council are working collaboratively to organise a series of master classes as part of a Social Work Academy that all social work students from the university and social care staff from the council are able to attend.
The development of the academy reflects the work being developed nationally. The aim is to increase the level of professional expertise within the county by raising standards and improving recruitment and retention of experienced staff.
It is well reported that adult social worker vacancies are rising and some 10.5 percent of social worker posts were unfilled in October 2015, according to figures returned to Skills for Care’s national dataset.
David Hambling, Course Leader in Social Work at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “The Social Work Academy gives great opportunities for our undergraduate students to meet qualified social workers, network and find out more about the realities of social work practice. Some key figures in social work practice, research and policy development present excellent master classes.
“The feedback from students who have attended these master classes is overwhelmingly positive and really shows that the two organisations work together to prioritise the learning and development of social work students and qualified social workers in practice.”
Clive Diaz, principal social worker at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Children and families social workers and managers from across the South West have attended these master class sessions, set up by the council with leaders in the field of social work practice. Professor David Howe and the Chief Child and Families Social Worker's sessions were particularly popular.
“They have helped to make social workers in the South West aware of the latest research and how policy develops on a national and international level in relation to child protection practice.
“These have been inspiring sessions which will help to improve the quality of service that social workers offer to vulnerable children and families in Gloucestershire and across the South West.”
Applications for the university’s Social Work (BSc Honours) course can be made via UCAS. For more information call the enquiries line on 03330 141414.
The next Social Work Academy master class takes place on 20 January at The Guildhall. The subject is ‘Safeguarding Children up to 8 Years: Professional Decisions.’
Further master classes with prominent researchers in the South West will be taking place later in the year. ‘Relational Depth in Social Work: Towards Intimate Child Protection Practice’ with Harry Ferguson will be run on 18 February and Sue White leads a session on 10 March called ‘The Politics of Evidence and Humane Practice with Families.’ For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.