As the controversial Frontline fast-track training programme for child protection social workers is being launched, college-based professional training courses for the job are quickly gaining popularity across the UK. Some 70 universities in the country already offer new work-based training courses for graduates whose first degree is different from social work, the Guardian reported.
The courses are either full-time, which lasts two years, or part-time, which takes longer. As part of the training, universities offer an increasing number of specialisms such as international placements and digital citizenship, in order to better prepare students for the contemporary requirements of the profession.
For example, Kingston University has provided placements at an HIV support centre in Mbale, Uganda, for students pursuing a master’s degree in social work. The students there counsel young people who are affected by the HIV virus or whose parents have died from AIDS.
The university has also established contacts with other countries, and offers 20-day placements of students in remote countries such as India, Brazil, and Jamaica. Last year, the number of students recruited by Kingston for the course was 40, almost twice as many as in preceding years.
Birmingham University also arranges exchange visits for its postgraduate social work students. The implementation of social media and digital technology in social work is an important part of its course.
Commenting on the postgraduate work-based courses in social work, Hilary Tompsett, chair of the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee (SWEC), said that they all need to comply with the regulatory criteria. Usually universities providing such courses seek to recruit elite graduates, she added.