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."