We have a new student with us on placement. When I say ‘us’, I mean that one of the other social workers in the team I work in, is her placement supervisor/practice teacher.
The Student ™ has been working in the local authority for roughly 20 years and in one of those isn’t-the-world-small situations, I actually sat next to her for 2 years in my previous job – from which she was sponsored to do the social work training.
One of the beneficiaries of a scheme where people who are already employed in unqualified positions are sponsored (on full pay, of course) through the course and all placements are provided in-borough (in a variety of teams).
The ‘grow your own’ scheme exists in parallel and is a way that was intended to address recruitment shortages – namely, train and promote fresh graduates – employing them and then sending them on the social work training as employees while tying them into a contract for a few years to ensure the training is paid for. In fact, King’s College, in conjunction with the GSCC, published in December, their research findings regarding these ‘grow your own’ schemes which fall into two categories
One – like ‘The Student’ ™ who is seconded to study
Two – New graduates who are taken on to study
Interestingly, the report explains that they are generally positive but haven’t really addressed the needs of promoting a more diverse pool as successful applicants have been disproportionately white and male.
GYO students are more likely to be white UK, less likely to be black
and are less likely to report any disability than non-GYO cohorts. They
are more likely to be male and older than non-GYO students and these
differential profiles have been increasing since the introduction of the new degree
Interesting research which I hope will be used to refocus a scheme which is well-placed to match communities and the cultures that they operate within.
When I was a student, we were all a teeny bit jealous of the sponsored students – not only were they actually receiving a salary (including an additional book allowance) – they not only had experience within statutory teams and had jobs to go back to after the course. They didn’t get the long summer breaks we did, but then, they were employed!
So in the office it’s quite a different situation from the usual ‘student’ scenario because I know her (and we get on very well, for the record!) quite well.
We don’t socialise outside work but I have an incredible amount of respect for her and know she is extremely good at her job ( you can pick up a massive amount by listening to people’s telephone calls and they way they relate when in discussion – note: not the same as ‘listening in’ because when you sit next to someone in an open plan office it isn’t really ‘spying’!) and will undoubtedly be a fine social worker.
The dynamic is different and as it was a job I was primarily happy in, she is bringing with her a lot of positive associations for me.
I think, at least, she says so – that she finds it helpful to have at least one familiar face around the place and I know, at the very least too, she’ll be happy to ask me all manner of questions about how our team operates.
When I was a student and each time I have started a job, I tend to bombard the people around me with lots of questions – better to ask than to struggle or to do something wrong. Sometimes though, it can be a bit scary in a new place and you can feel very disempowered without any knowledge of systems – so hopefully my presence will at least help in that department.
And by September, I will be likely having a student from one of the local universities myself.
This gratifies me enormously because pretty much for the last few years, I’ve wanted to do the practice teaching course.
N.B I’ve set up a Twitter account – Monstertalk – I promise not to spam it because I can only use it when I’m not at work!