Council thinks laterally to attract new blood

Hull City Council has tackled the national shortage of social workers by
recruiting a pool of new recruits directly from local colleges and
universities.

Grow Your Own, a partnership between Hull’s social services, universities,
colleges and the voluntary sector, has established a small group of newly
qualified social workers who are given full-time contracts and are ready to
step into posts as they become vacant. They work in other associated roles for
the council or in the voluntary sector on full salary until they can begin work
as social workers. The scheme, which has been running since 1998, has prevented
delays in filling vacant posts, which can last up to six months.

Margaret Dennison, assistant director of childcare and families at Kingston
upon Hull City Council, said, "We can use the scheme’s flexibility to
deploy people we have already recruited. It allows for the peaks and troughs in
staffing."

Council social workers give students advice on the profession during a
recruitment fair which is now in its second year. Dennison continued,
"Social care has not got the extra money the Government is pumping into
teaching and nursing, so we have to be especially creative about attracting new
blood."

Director of Social Services at Hull City Council, Jan Didrichsen, believes
the scheme is successful because it recruits local people who are more likely
to stay with the council. "We have been very successful in filling social
worker vacancies."

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