A new social work degree course is being introduced at University College Jersey for the first time under a new partnership with a world-class university in a bid to build a highly skilled workforce of social workers and end the Island’s reliance on temporary and agency staff.
From September 2019 there will be a new BA in Social Work Degree run at Highlands College. This will be a unique partnership with the University of Sussex who will be co-teaching the course with a local team of lecturers for the first three years of the course.
The decision to establish this degree course in the Island was made following the recommendations of the Jersey Care Inquiry, one of which outlined the need to build a stable and competent workforce.
Education Minister Senator Tracey Vallois said: “This is a significant investment by the Jersey government that will ensure that by 2022 Jersey will have its own highly skilled on-island social work training unit. This investment in training will significantly reduce the costs of hiring temporary and agency staff in the future and will hopefully provide continuity in care also.
“We remain fully committed to not only taking on the recommendations of the IJCI, but ensuring that Jersey’s children and young people receive appropriate help and support throughout their lives. Having a stable and highly skilled workforce of social workers is crucial as we seek to protect the welfare of our most vulnerable children and young people in Jersey. The course is for all social workers including those who choose to work with vulnerable adults.”
Principal of Highlands College Steve Lewis said: “Jersey needs a more permanent workforce of social workers, so what better way of going about it than growing our own. I am delighted that we have been able to secure a partnership with a world-class university that has a long-standing reputation for training social workers in England. The model that has been agreed means that local students will benefit from being taught by experienced social work academics and researchers with on-island tutorial support.”
The course will be up and running, subject to Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approval and course validation, from September 2019. This means that Jersey will have its first group of locally-trained and qualified social workers in the summer of 2022.
The Government is investing £686,000 in recruiting, developing and delivering this bespoke BA Degree Course in Social Work over the next four years.
Mr Lewis added: “There is a £116,000 fund for four years to train social workers currently employed in the voluntary and statutory sectors to be Practice Educators so that they can mentor and assess trainee social workers in the workplace. The course consists of a 14 week placement in the second year and a 20 week placement in the third year and, to give on-island students the opportunity to experience training either in Guernsey or on the South Coast of England, there will be a bursary fund of £240,000 to cover travel and living expenses.”
There will be between 12 and 20 places on the course and applications will be welcome from anyone from Jersey or Guernsey who is over 18 and who has the equivalent of 3 A levels at grades B,B,& C or above. The course is open to school leavers and to mature students. Adults on income support will be classed as key workers and may retain their benefits whilst training. The fee for the course is £9,250*
*Students may be eligible for financial support towards this new Social Work degree if they apply to Student Finance and meet all the standard criteria. If a student wishes to discuss this in more detail please contact the Student Finance Department on 01534 449450 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also an Access Course route into this course. Highlands has a one year Access to Social Care course which would be suitable so that students without qualifications can also apply for this course.
Dr. Russell Whiting, Course Convener, BA in Social Work and incoming Head of Department at the University of Sussex, said: “Social work colleagues at Sussex are enthusiastic to be involved in this opportunity to support ‘home grown social work’ in Jersey. We are keen that Jersey colleagues will be able to shape the course to meet local requirements but at the same time will seek to ensure that course bears the hallmarks of our social work degree – with high standards for admission to a course which emphasises relationship-based practice, is taught predominantly in small groups and draws on the latest research in practice.”
Rose Parkes, who is currently the programme leader for the BA in Social Work at the University of Hertford, has been appointed as the Course Leader Designate and will be starting at UCJ in the Autumn and will be to begin the process of recruiting students to the course.