02 March 2015

Northamptonshire County Council officially launched its Social Work Academy today (Monday) as part of its commitment to recruiting the best-quality social workers to support families across the county.

The Social Work Academy aims to recruit the best newly-qualified social workers by offering a year-long intensive training and support programme and a competitive salary.

Hands-on learning

The first intake of newly-qualified social workers began their training in October and the graduates are benefiting from reduced caseloads, hands-on learning, high levels of support and mentoring, and extensive training and qualification opportunities.

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I’m delighted that we have officially launched our Social Work Academy, which aims to make Northamptonshire a great place for work for newly-qualified social workers.

“We recognise that the first year as a practising children’s social worker can be a challenging time and we want to support staff through this early phase of their career.

“We are committed to training and developing our social care workforce and we hope our Social Work Academy will provide our new staff with the foundation for a long and rewarding career with Northamptonshire County Council.”

Structured support

Graduates spend the first six months of the academy in a dedicated learning environment with a minimum of one day a week working within a social work team. For the second half of the programme, they are based mostly in the field with structured support from the academy.

Former youth worker Michael Ogunjinmi, who moved from London to take up a place at the Social Work Academy in Northampton, said: “I think joining the academy was the best thing I could have done because I had been applying for social worker jobs but my lack of experience was proving a barrier. This programme allows me to build on the experience I gained from my youth work and I believe there’s real scope for progression here.”

Danielle Henley, also a newly-qualified social worker, said: “The academy is helping me to start my career in the best possible way. We join with a little bit of experience from our degree and the programme enables us to grow and develop with practical support in order to be effective social workers for the benefit of families across Northamptonshire.”

Find out more

Northamptonshire County Council recruits graduates to the academy twice a year. To find out more about the Social Work Academy, or apply for a place, visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/academy.