Wakefield Council is one of only a few local authorities in the country that runs a Learning Academy. New social workers receive extra support during their first year of employment, known as the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE).
It was set up as part of the improvement programme in children’s services.
Wakefield Council has transformed its service from an OFSTED rating of inadequate across the board in 2018, to good in every area with outstanding leadership in January 2022, believed to be one of the fastest improvements of council maintained children’s services in the country.
The Learning Academy provides training that is tailored to the needs of individual newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) and gives them the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills which can be put into practice when supporting children and young people, and their families across the district.
Mentoring and one-to-one support is provided to all newly qualified social workers.
Recent graduates attended a graduation event on April 27 to celebrate their achievements.
Among them was Leanne Wood who is now a senior social worker at Wakefield Council.
Leanne said: “The Learning Academy supported me as a newly qualified social worker to develop my knowledge and skill and the staff were always approachable and supportive.
‘’I was offered additional training and learning opportunities in the areas I needed.
“This extra assistance has allowed me to progress from being a student social worker to a senior social worker in four years and I’ve been able to fulfil my dream of having a career as a therapeutic social worker in the Emotional Wellbeing Team.
“I feel Wakefield has really supported me throughout my journey so far and I am excited for where this might take me."
The event also recognised the achievements of social workers who have completed the ‘Career Progression’ programme at Wakefield.
This supports social workers who have been qualified for at least two years and wish to become a senior social worker, which requires being the lead for complex cases, supporting and mentoring less experienced staff.
Victoria Schofield, Acting Corporate Director for Children and Young People, said: “I’d like to congratulate our staff who do an incredible job in looking after the district’s vulnerable children and their families and study at the same time.
“Our programmes are dedicated to developing and retaining skilled, experienced social workers and enabling them to be at the forefront of the latest learning and development which staff put into practice when supporting children and young people, and their families across the district.
“We will continue to provide significant support to ensure children are always at the centre of the work we do, and our staff have the best skills and knowledge to meet their required needs.”
The council is recruiting to children’s social work on a regular basis.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the benefits to choosing Wakefield should go to https://bit.ly/CYPcareers.
Latest roles can be found at https://bit.ly/CYPcareers.