New bid to recruit social workers in Surrey

Surrey County Council is set to launch a £6,000 recruitment campaign to attract social workers back to the profession as the authority continues its drive to find local solutions to the national problem of staff shortages.

The campaign will target parents of school age children who are qualified social workers and may be considering a return to work.

The Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) and the council are both putting £3,000 towards the recruitment drive as the authority aims to reduce its social worker vacancy rate, which is already well below the national average, from nine per cent.

As part of the scheme, the council will provide a free return-to-work course, which is due to run between November and February.

There will be 15 days of teaching and five days of on-the-job shadowing of a social worker. Everyone who successfully completes the course will be offered an interview with the council for a post in a frontline Children’s Services team. CWDC will pay people on the course £60 a day and will help with childcare and travel costs.

Anyone interested in joining the course can contact the CWDC on 0300 123 1220.

The campaign runs alongside a scheme to give £1,500 to 50 university social work students annually and ten bursaries each year for council staff wanting to extend their professional skills.

The council was praised this month by Ofsted for the work Children’s Services do to protect vulnerable young people after an unannounced inspection, with strengths including good staff morale and a workforce that says its views are ‘listened to’.

Mary Angell, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Social workers do a great job, often in extremely difficult circumstances, but it is a hugely rewarding profession to join.

“This recruitment campaign represents a fantastic opportunity for a parent ready to resume their career to get back to work and is just one of the many ways the council is finding local solutions to a national problem.

“By attracting, recruiting and retaining the brightest, best and most committed people we have the best chance of giving vulnerable children in Surrey the best possible start in life.”