The Greater Manchester Social Work Academy (GMSWA) teaching partnership promotes social work standards across the Greater Manchester region. Two of the academic partners (The University of Manchester and the University of Salford) have collaborated to set up a new Return to Social Work programme, running at both universities with support from the GMSWA. The Return to Social Work training allows professionals who have left social work for a few years to update their skills, revitalise their practice, and value previous educational or employment experience. The One Stop Social team recently sat down with Patricia Carney (University of Manchester) and Suryia Nayak (University of Salford) to find out more about how this new Return to Social Work programme will benefit social workers throughout the area.
Tell us about the new Return to Social Work Programme
“Our programme offers an effective mix of University and placement-based experience to prepare candidates to return to practice with confidence. The programme includes two taught days focussed on recent changes in practice where current practitioners share their experiences with candidates. Specialist input is provided on current legislation, policy and Safeguarding practice governing Children and Family, Adults and Mental Health social work. A skills focused simulation day enables candidates to refresh their social work skills in a safe environment. Candidates have a ten day placement within a Local Authority within Greater Manchester. Candidates have a mentor/supervisor whilst on placement to enable the candidate to get the most out of this valuable ‘hands –on’ experience. After placement, a final two days within the University enables candidates to debrief and reflect on their placement, including identifying particular areas for development. The final day focusses on re-registration, CV preparation and social work job interviews. Candidates also undertake 15 days private study through the Virtual Learning Environment within the Universities, extensive library and learning resources on offer.”
Who is this programme relevant for?
“This is for qualified social workers who have been out of practice for between 2 – 5 years who want to re-register with HCPC and return to practice.”
How is the GMSWA supporting this endeavour?
“Firstly, GMSWA is funding places for 58 social work candidates wanting to return to practice who live in Greater Manchester and social workers who intend to work in Greater Manchester after they re-register.
Secondly, GMSWA have ten Local Authorities committed to providing the 10-day practice placements to support the programme. Candidates will have exposure to front-line statutory social work as part of their preparation to return to practice. The Local Authorities will provide mentor/supervisors to support these placements to ensure that candidates are enabled to make the most of this learning opportunity.”
If social workers don’t qualify for GMSWA funding, what is the cost of this programme?
“Social workers who do not qualify for GMSWA funding will be asked to pay £1,000 in course fees. This will include the taught elements of the programme and the 10-day practice placement.”
“What do you think is the value in a collaborative Return to Social Work Programme within Greater Manchester?”
“This collaborative Return to Social Work programme has produced a programme which is up to date in terms of what social workers need to go back into practice. Support from employers from across GMSWA ensures that the programme prepares candidates to be confident in their updated knowledge and skills. Practitioners are supporting the delivery of the programme and employers are supporting the placements.”
When will the programme run?”
“Even more good news here is that the programme runs twice. The first programme is delivered by the University of Manchester. The dates are:
- Refresher Days: 22, 23 & 24 Jan
- Placement: a 10-day placement to take place between 25 Jan – 18
- Bespoke Days: 18 & 19 Feb.
- The closing date for applications for this programme – 7th January 2019 (contact: email@example.com or for an application form contact : firstname.lastname@example.org )
The second programme is delivered by the University of Salford. The dates are:
- Refresher Days: 25, 26 & 27 Feb
- Placement: a 10-day placement to take place between 28 Feb and 22 March
- Bespoke Days: 25 & 26 March 2019
- The closing date for applications for this programme is: 4th February 2019 (contact: email@example.com)”
Do the 2 programmes (at Salford and Manchester) provide the same training to social workers? If not, how do they differ?
“Yes, the programme is delivered in the same way at both Universities. They differ in terms of the dates to give candidates a choice.”
How will this programme benefit social workers compared to other Return to Social Work training courses?
“The programme prepares candidates in terms of key legislation, policy and how practice has changed in the last few years. Candidates discuss what is happening in contemporary practice with social workers who are currently practicing. Candidates refresh their interviewing and assessment knowledge and skills in simulation environment with constructive feedback. The 10-day practice placement is a key learning experience opportunity and is not provided on all Return to Social Work programmes. Going back into the workplace and seeing first- hand what may be different – and what is the same – as when candidates were last in practice themselves offers an authentic learning experience and lays a firm grounding for future employment. We tailor some of the learning directly to the different needs of candidates and have a bespoke focus to learning post – placement. We have introduced flexibility in the programme to respond to issues candidates bring themselves. The final day focuses on enhancing employability which to our knowledge is not something that is being provided in other social work programmes.”
This programme sounds like a great contribution to the social work community in Greater Manchester, and it’s great to see teaching partnerships like the Greater Manchester Social Work Academy investing in making Return to Social Work more accessible for practitioners. If you want any more information about the programme or the GMSWA, then head to www.gmswa.co.uk and see what other exciting projects are in the works!