Hull tackles social worker shortage

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 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.”

Advertising
posters to promote the scheme have been dropped in favour of direct marketing.
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 that scheme
is successful because it recruits local people who are more likely to be stay
with the council.

She
said, “We have been very successful in filling social worker vacancies but need
to maintain our performance in attracting suitable staff, in particular those
that live locally and who may be more likely to stay with the department than
people whose roots are outside the local area.”

By Paul
Nelson. Click here to respond

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