It’s Welcome Back To Social Services!

Social workers who have left the profession are being coaxed back into work because of a serious shortage of staff. A scheme called Return to Practice has been set up by Warwickshire County Council to encourage people who are no longer social workers to return to work. Council workers found there were a number of qualified professionals interested in returning to the job but felt unable to because of the length of time they had been away. As part of the scheme they were offered training and were rewarded if they met certain targets.

John Darnbrook, from Birmingham, now works in child protection in Nuneaton after a seven-year break from social work. He said: “It’s changed a lot. There’s more paperwork but I’m enjoying working with people and the training.”

Stephen Austin, aged 46, gave up social work to raise his two children but after they left home he decided to re-enter the profession. Mr Austin, who works at the Hilary Road Centre in Camp Hill, said: “Eleven years is a long time away but I’ve had a very positive experience. The realities of the job, talking to people and helping them, never changes.”

Since the scheme was set up, eight vacancies have been filled in Warwick, Nuneaton, Bedworth and north Warwickshire. Chris Hallett, head of the county council’s children in need division, said: “Recruitment of social workers is an issue at national level, and it is quite possible to advertise at national level, and it is quite possible to advertise positions without success.

“To bring so many experienced social workers into practice in one campaign is a fantastic achievement that means we are able to offer high quality support to children and families in Warwickshire.”