Frontline. Improving the children’s social work profession

This paper investigates the nature and extent of the problems facing the children's social work profession. Last year, there were around 1,350 vacant jobs in this field, many of which were concentrated in certain areas. Despite a concerted effort to tackle this shortage of workers, there are widespread concerns about the skills, competencies and calibre of new recruits to the profession. For example, in 2011 less than 6 per cent of people who started training to be a social worker came fr om a Russell Group university - social work is clearly not viewed as attractive for these graduates.

This paper argues that a graduate fast-track programme, run by a dedicated social enterprise, could help to address these problems. Drawing on the success of the Teach First scheme, the organisation would provide work-based training for high-potential new recruits. This new programme - Frontline - would help to attract the best people into one of Britain's toughest professions, and in the long term create a movement of leaders to challenge social disadvantage

Josh MacAlister
Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)