05 February 2019
Plans are underway to launch a major recruitment drive for permanent social workers in Jersey in a bid to build a highly-skilled workforce and end the Island’s reliance on temporary and agency staff.
A new degree course, to build a ‘home-grown’ future workforce of social workers, will start in September and there are plans for staff from the Children, Young People, Education and Skills department to attend a number of UK social work recruitment fayres, to attract a more permanent workforce.
Announcing the news, Children's Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, said: “Jersey has a significant recruitment issue of social workers. The vacancies are mostly filled with agency staff, which leads to disruption for children and a significant level of costs and turnover.
“Research shows that social work recruitment fayres are a well-established and known means of attracting qualified social workers to apply for positions in local authorities and other jurisdictions. Therefore, there is a plan for Jersey to attend four UK recruitment fayres, over the next few months, to build a more stable workforce.
“These investments will significantly reduce the costs of hiring temporary and agency staff in the future. Having a stable and highly skilled workforce of social workers is crucial as we seek to protect the welfare of our most vulnerable children and young people in Jersey.”
Last year, Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois, announced plans for a new degree in Social Work, run by University College Jersey at Highlands College, in partnership with the University of Sussex.
The decision to establish the first social work degree course in the Island was made following the recommendations of the Jersey Care Inquiry, one of which outlined the need to build a stable and competent workforce.
Senator Vallois said: “This is a significant investment by the government of Jersey that will ensure that by 2022 Jersey will have its own highly skilled on-island social work training unit. This offers further opportunities for those looking to move into a new career and additional consideration for those leaving further education to consider.
“We remain fully committed to not only taking on the recommendations of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, but ensuring that Jersey’s children and young people receive appropriate help and support throughout their lives.”
This investment in training will significantly reduce the costs of hiring temporary and agency staff in the future and will hopefully provide continuity in care also.
Steve Lewis, principal of Highlands said: "I am pleased to announce that UCJ and Highlands is officially an affiliate partner of the University of Sussex and the development team was highly commended for their strong and effective partnership working.
“Congratulations to Rose Parkes, Ben Bennett, Innes MacLagen, Stuart Philip and everyone involved in the Social Work Degree project. There has already been a number of applicants for the course and the selection and recruitment process will take place during the second week in March”.
Mr Lewis added: "This is a fantastic achievement and a credit to the professional way of working that has led to this piece of important and collaborative work coming to fruition. It will ensure that Jersey has its own home-grown future workforce of social workers."