The Local Government Association stated yesterday that the public castigation of social workers in the UK through a variety of media outlets has had an impact on the recruitment of staff. This isn’t any great surprise after all, I’ve had to justify my choice of profession to random people I meet in a social context more than ever over the past few months.
I won’t be embarrassed by it although it seems that’s pretty much the way the government is happy for it to go judging by their pandering to the tabloids.
So it was interesting to note that the government also announced a plan to offer graduates places on a ‘National Management Trainee Scheme’ along with payments of £20 000 to trainees who enrol on the programme run by the ‘National Skills Academy’ (oh, that makes it really clear).
That, along with the lately announced CareFirst scheme to put 50,000 long term unemployed people into the social care workforce through training – which sounds at least potentially positive.
It’s a bit confusing though- for me anyway. Phil Hope, the Care Services Minister says he wants to
lure experienced graduates, managers and leaders from the private sector into the social care sector
and he thinks a £20 000 package from the ‘National Skills Academy’ will do this?
Is he looking at new graduates or at ‘luring people from the private sector’ because while I can see £20 000 being very tempting to new graduates, I’m not sure it would be so much to those who are already successful (because we don’t want the unsuccessful ones, right?) private sector leaders.
I had a nose around the National Skills Academy site. I didn’t know what it was and had never heard of it. Honestly though, the language and government-speak just made me run scared from it. It did however, mention a little about this graduate scheme saying it will establish
A new trainee scheme with equal status to local government, central government and health schemes. Intended to identify future leaders in any setting and give entrants a rounded experience of different types of employment. Entrants could be new to social care or existing staff, with an emphasis on increasing the diversity of people in leadership roles.
Maybe I’m over simplistic and over idealistic but I can’t help thinking the £20 000 would be better spent training up front line social workers and providing substantial and useful on-the-job training for newly qualified social workers (that the universities seem unable to offer as a matter of course) rather than pumping the money into the management system which already suffers from too much detachment from the front line services. Good management is necessary but I am of the mind that a manager should always be prepared to do for themselves what they ask others to do. That might be a little simplistic but it’s generally served me well for although I’ve never managed people directly, having worked for many years providing direct care has informed what I ask care homes and care agencies to do enormously.
I know I shouldn’t be so cynical – after all – maybe it is a genius idea that is the government’s way of solving all the problems.. the government created.
I just can’t help it though. Years of being micro-managed and de-skilled through frankly ineffectual management and being told at regular intervals how important re-organisations are again, and again and again at the expense of the actual relationship-building work and support and advocacy work which makes a real impact on the lives of those who we work with can become a teeny bit disheartening.
I’m not ready to give up yet though. My aim is to change from the inside but more and more I can see myself drifting into the voluntary sector eventually.