Social work is a constantly evolving profession, with new challenges arising every day. As social workers we adapt to these changes, using our knowledge and practice wisdom to help families and individuals tackle the complexities and stresses of modern life.
Some of us step away from the profession for a variety of reasons; maybe to take a career break, or to focus on family. Many people who take time out will want to return to practice but may not have the confidence to do so.
As with any career path requiring regular training and validation, there is an understandable concern that those who take a break may get left behind by educational and practice advances or changes to the scope and purpose of the profession. But this is a false fear – great social work is not just about training and accreditation but also our personal and professional attributes, intrinsic social work values and well-grounded knowledge and skills.
Many view the opportunity to be a social worker as an incredible privilege. For those who want to return, the time is absolutely right and I think they can make a real contribution. The refocusing on excellent practice and strengths based approaches to working with people in their social contexts, both in children’s and adult social work, is welcomed by all of us in the profession.
That’s why I’m so very excited by the launch of Come Back to Social Work – a new recruitment drive for experienced adult and child and family social workers who have left the profession but are now keen to find a way back.
Created in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA), Department for Education and Department of Health, this campaign presents an opportunity for successful applicants to marry knowledge and experience gained outside social work with intensive training to bridge the gap between then and now.
All applicants, whether successful or not, will have access to a personal development plan for six months which will help them complete future applications. They will also be held in a talent pool searchable by potential council employers.
Applicants can then sign up, create a profile and enter their details. Successful applicants will be informed later this month. They will then go through a period of 13 weeks’ training to enable them to re-register with the Health and Care Professions Council and be ready for work in councils early in 2017.
This is free training which would otherwise cost £800 without government funding, so the incentive is clear to anyone keen to explore a return to our wonderful profession.
Returning social workers will really understand just how rewarding social work can be. Those who have taken a break now have the opportunity to capitalise on their experiences in other professions or life situations to bring added value to their work.
As society keeps evolving our desire to promote positive outcomes for those needing help and support within our communities remains as strong as ever - Come Back to Social Work and discover that time outside the profession can help enrich your experience within it.