Ealing Council has started a new staff learning programme to help it recruit and retain the very best social workers and social care practitioners.
The Ealing Social Care Academy will bring together a range of learning and development opportunities in one place, helping council staff to better connect and collaborate with partners and service users.
The academy will build on the council’s proven track record of providing career development opportunities for its adult’s and children’s services workforces. In a highly competitive employment sector, offering continuous professional development has played a central role in the council’s staff retention strategy. This is reflected in the opportunities it already provides with fast-track social work qualification programmes like apprenticeships and the Step Up and Think Ahead programmes.
Support for newly qualified staff and managers
The first year of a new career can be daunting, and the academy will help ensure that newly qualified social workers and social carers are provided with support, training, and learning opportunities as part of their assessed year. It will include a clear induction programme for newly qualified social workers, a learning pathway, and a caseload promise.
Leadership is key to leading the service and creating the conditions for excellent practice, so the academy will also support aspiring managers to help develop effective skills.
The academy will see the council continue to collaborate with its partners to improve social work and social care practice in west London. This includes West London Alliance, West London Social Work Teaching Partnership, and Royal Holloway, Brunel, and King’s College London universities.
‘A great place to be a social worker’
Councillor Kam Nagpal is Ealing Council’s lead member for a fairer start. She said: “Ealing is already a great place to be a social worker or social carer, and our staff make a real difference to the lives of the local people who need our care and support.
“Our workforce is our most valuable resource. We know it is crucial for our staff to have continuous professional development, so our academy will support their learning at every step of their career.
“We are committed to growing our own managers, with clear career progression pathways across both the children’s and adults’ services already in place. The academy will help us retain even more of the best of our teams and channel them into management positions.”