Children's Workforce Guide to Qualifications and Training 2023/24

Joe Lepper
Friday, September 1, 2023

With many parts of the sector facing recruitment challenges, Joe Lepper identifies developments in entry-level requirements and ongoing professional development for children's services practitioners.

Picture: pikselstock/Adobe Stock
Picture: pikselstock/Adobe Stock

The cost-of-living crisis continues to have a significant impact on children's and youth services in 2023. Many face increasing demand, especially when it comes to young people's mental health, but are also under financial pressure.

Concerns about pay and conditions have seen key workers including teachers, nurses and doctors go on strike. Recruitment and retention are a key concern in areas including social services, healthcare and early years.

Despite the challenges the sector continues to explore ways to improve training and career pathways.

Key developments this year include the publication of the government's response to the Independent Review of Children's Social Care in England, which proposes new social work roles and the creation of “family help” teams.

There has also been significant investment in early intervention services including the roll-out of family hubs.

The use of virtual and online training continues to grow in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) says virtual learning can be a “cost-effective option for participants”.

“Looking to the future, having on-demand training in a virtual learning platform environment is likely to become a popular option,” says BASW.

Social care regulator Social Work England's State of the Nation report this year says “a case can be made for a hybrid approach” to learning, combining in-person and online training. Benefits include better work/life balance and making learning more inclusive.

Improving inclusivity is a key concern for many children's services organisations given a lack of diversity in parts of the sector, especially in senior and management roles.

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