A pioneering programme, which is helping to recruit more social workers into the industry, has seen its first cohort of students graduate in Leicestershire.
The county council has become one of the first upper-tier authorities in the country to offer the degree apprenticeship programme - and a special celebration has been held at Beaumanor Hall to mark the achievement.
A total of 16 graduates are now all registered with Social Work England as practising social workers, gaining further experience in roles with the county council’s adults and children’s social care services.
Through the programme, existing staff are supported to gain professional qualifications on a social work apprenticeship, funded by the county council through the apprenticeship levy.
What an achievement for everyone involved. As a council, we’re at the forefront of this new approach to developing our social workers of the future – and that’s really important.Person:Councillor Christine Radford, cabinet member for adult social care
Councillor Deborah Taylor, deputy leader and cabinet member for children and young people, said: “My heartfelt congratulations go out to all the graduates and best wishes for their continued success.”
One of the successful graduates is Di, whose experience goes back 16 years in a former role as a reablement worker.
She said: “It has been a wonderful experience, especially getting to know new areas of work and understanding the positive and challenging aspects around them.
"I had many lightbulb moments as I gathered the background knowledge that shaped the way I work, my style of intervention, and my personal values.
“I’ve been able to make a difference to someone's life by completing several visits and assessments which led to them moving from assisted living to independent living.
“I am really looking forward to developing my skills as a social worker at the county council."
Also speaking about the programme, graduate David said: “After working as a support worker for many years, I decided that I wanted to progress a career in social work.
“Juggling work, life, and course commitments has been challenging, but I’ve learned a lot through day-to-day experience.”
See the county council's careers page if you're interested in social work or other social care roles for adults and children.