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Yesterday, Ed Balls announced a plan to fast-track other ‘professionals’ like lawyers, teachers and police officers into social work on a one year ‘scheme’.
He says that this scheme – which will attract a £15,000 payment to those who take up the offer – would appeal to those who might be put off by a three year degree.
I wonder how much he knows about social work itself though outside his departmental bubble. Ten years ago, I took a two year postgraduate Masters course – the kind of which exist currently – and alongside me on my course were former teachers, police officers and even (believe it or not!) a clinical psychologist. Sure, we didn’t get £15,000 but we did two placements alongside the academic training.
I wonder how it will be compressed into one year. My understanding is that it will be ‘on the job’ type training. Perhaps he hasn’t learnt from the difficulties universities are having at the moment in finding placements.
Maybe I’m just too cynical but I have to wonder if Balls is even aware of the post-graduate route to train as a social worker. He seems completely oblivious to its existence – from his comments that social workers should be trained to post-graduate level (a good proportion already are, Balls!) to his comments that some professionals wouldn’t want to leave work to take a three year unpaid degree (the Masters attracts more funding and it’s only two years so no lawyer/teacher etc would be taking the three year route anyway!).
For all that, I don’t want to be too cynical. It isn’t Ed’s fault he is so ignorant but the idea behind it – namely to encourage people to seek a second career in social work – isn’t a bad one. I am just confused as to how the necessary skills can be compressed into one year – after all, as practitioners, they will still need the same knowledge and experience.
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