Posted: Wednesday 4th October 2017
These new recruits are headed to our innovative multi-disciplinary Family Safeguarding teams and will eventually be working alongside professionals in mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and domestic abuse to focus on resolving the parents’ issues that place children at risk of significant harm.
The Academy supports them with intensive training through their first year of practice to develop skills such as motivational interviewing that they will need in their roles in the child protection teams. It provides them with a high-level of supervision and guidance so that they develop the essential skills and confidence they need to improve the lives of Hertfordshire’s most vulnerable children and families.
The trainees heard from our guest speaker, Dr David Wilkins, Senior Research Fellow at the Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care about the role of supervision in enhancing the quality and outcomes of social work practice.
The Academy recruits new graduates twice a year, and is keen to encourage newly-qualified social workers to register their interest. It offers six months' intensive training, guidance and support, and successful applicants receive innovative peer support and mentoring throughout.
Sarah is a social worker in the Family Safeguarding team who came through the Academy. She said: “I chose Hertfordshire as a newly qualified social worker because I wanted to join the Academy. I felt well supported and thought it was a great way to start my career. I really liked the idea that I was with other newly qualified social workers.
“The training within the Academy is absolutely fantastic. All the training is done before you take on cases. You get the experience of working as a social worker and can focus on learning without any time constraints. You start with a low caseload and lots of support and supervision to ease you into your new role.”
John who came through the academy and now works in the Watford team said:” The Academy experience was a learning curve like no other. It is far steeper than I could have imagined. A bit like looking up mountain and someone saying you are going to climb that. The support and preparation in terms of training prepare you for ground realities.”
“I admit there were a couple of occasions where I may have ‘looked down’ and thought this was my limit, but my managers supported me with the tools and the motivation to succeed. The challenges I faced as a new recruit are a distant memory now, and I’ve made lifelong friends along the way.”
Hertfordshire was the first authority in the country to launch an academy for children’s social workers. Since then it has helped 250 social workers embark on their careers, and its national reputation for excellence has continued to grow.
Teresa Heritage Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:
“I am delighted to welcome our new social worker recruits to the county council. It is an exciting time to be a social worker in Hertfordshire. Our new ways of working are showing very good results and we are now building on that with our work with other local authorities. Our new recruits will have a chance to be part of this action and help shape the social change in children’s services. At Hertfordshire County Council we really appreciate the role that social workers play in protecting vulnerable families across the county; so we offer some great benefits for those who chose to work for us. I wish them well.”
To find out more about starting your career in social work at the Social Work Academy, visit: http://www.countyofopportunity.co.uk/ or to register your interest for the next application process in October, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org