Qualified social workers not taking training

Only eight per cent of social workers are taking up training opportunities after they have qualified, a report by the General Social Care Council (GSCC) has found.

Published in the council’s annual report into social work education and training in England, a lack of ringfenced funding, availability of instructors and assessors, and the lack of provision for workload relief are all contributing factors to the low uptake of post-qualifying programmes.

Raising Standards: Social Work Education in England 2008-2009 also found that more higher education institutions (HEI) met the required standards of the social work degree course but concerns remain about the quality of social work degrees.

GSCC chair Rosie Varley said: “The findings of the Raising Standards report are a clear indication that while there has been an improvement in HEI performances there is still some way to go.”

She said the council is strengthening its inspection of HEIs that run social work degree and post-qualifying programmes. But added: “Completing the initial degree and becoming a registered social worker is just the beginning. Continuing learning is an important hallmark of a professional, which is only possible with the commitment of employers.”

The report also found that concerns remain about the shortage of men in the profession, with men making up only 13.6 per cent of enrolments for 2008/09.