In the wake of the Jimmy Savile and Rochdale sex scandals, the Education Secretary is considering a scheme to attract more graduates to social work.
Michael Gove has outlined a scheme called Frontline, which will attract the best and brightest young graduates into the social work profession.
Ministers hope the plan will encourage a sense of social responsibility in graduates and convince them to stay beyond their initial two-year training period.
The plan, which was developed by Lord Adonis, the former education minister, aims to parachute graduates into social work.
Social workers already need degree-level training, but there are a high number of vacancies within the sector. Only 5% of new starters in the field last year went to one of the Russell Group leading universities.
The plan is based on TeachFirst – a scheme which aims to improve the quality of schooling by letting graduates teach for two years before they go on into business.
A Department for Education spokesman said the Government is “currently considering the Frontline proposal”.
“We want to improve the quality of social work training and welcome any proposals which encourage the most talented graduates to consider it as a career,” she said.
Ministers are now trying to improve the quality of social workers after receiving unprecedented levels of criticism in the last few years over cases where they have failed to spot abuse.
Mr Gove defended the profession earlier this year saying that social workers are asked “to operate in conditions most of us know nothing about, to engage with people in desperate need, to make extremely finely balanced ethical and practical judgments, and to retain the trust of adults while thinking always of the best interests of children.”
He said that this must be done at the same time as knowing that “if a mistake does occur then their career, indeed their professional status, may be ruined for ever”.
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