Former service users in line for children's sector apprenticeships

Joe Lepper
Monday, May 18, 2015

Parents who have turned their lives around will be among those offered a chance to train for a professional career in children's services as part of ambitious plans to address recruitment issues in the sector.

Former service users and existing volunteers will be among those targeted for new apprenticeships. Picture: Emilie Sandy
Former service users and existing volunteers will be among those targeted for new apprenticeships. Picture: Emilie Sandy

Amid concerns in the sector about difficulties with recruitment and retention, the Association of Director’s of Children’s Services (ADCS) is helping to launch a government scheme to offer various groups, including former services users and existing volunteers, to be paid professionals in a range of children’s services roles.

Speaking to CYP Now, Rachael Wardell, workforce development policy committee chair at the ADCS, said the apprenticeship trailblazer scheme will offer training in roles including early intervention work with families, as well as residential care and the wider children’s workforce.

The apprenticeships are likely to last for up to two years.

Wardell said parents who have benefited from early help services have the potential to help others.

“We work with a lot of families who turn their lives around and then they have something to offer their peers,” she said.

“But their own life circumstances may mean they do not have very many formal qualifications even though they have developed a good skill set and understanding of working with families.

“This will be a good route in for service users to join the children and families workforce.”

Wardell said the scheme is also designed to train those already in the sector but “without a clear career path”.

“For a lot of people, they will be part of the workforce but don’t have a formal professional qualification,” she said. “This will professionalise them.

“We want to give those taking part core skills that are recognisable across the children’s workforce and immediately transferable.”

The apprenticeship trailblazer scheme – which is being developed by the ADCS alongside Skills for Care and Development, the Local Government Association and a number of local authorities – is scheduled to launch in 2017.

A consultation is due to take place over the summer to help hammer out details such as the core skills to be taught.

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