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The Apprentice – caring at the next level

19 January 2022

The Council plans to harness social care talent by offering apprenticeships in Occupational Therapy and Social Work to more people if funding is agreed next week (24 January).

Proposals are being put to Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee to approve four Occupational Therapy and three Social Work apprenticeship posts.

There are currently significant shortages in Social Workers and Occupational Therapists at the County Council and there are national issues around recruitment in the social care workforce.

42 year old Joanne Ansell-Wood, from Beeston, is one of the current Social Work apprentices. She said: “I worked full time as a Community Care Officer for 10 years before this. Without this course, I wouldn’t be able to progress to the next level. We have so many CCOs who are an untapped resource. They all deserve a chance as well. I’ve worked alongside people who would do really well and who need the opportunity. It would change the people’s lives that we’re supporting. Staffing’s a worry at the moment and lots of social workers are needed.

“I work four days and then have one day at university, which breaks the week up nicely. I feel like I’m part of the team and not just a student. I was worried I’d be taken off complex work, but I haven’t and I’ve been delving in just as much as everyone else. The course has helped to pick me apart and rebuild me as a more effective worker. And there’s still more to be done! It’s continuous development.”

35 year old Saddaf Mukhtar, from Nottingham, is training to become an Occupational Therapist. She said: “I have just returned from successfully completing my placement within a hospital setting. It was a fantastic experience. Working with amputees and surgical in-patients, this opportunity allowed me to learn about a specialist area as well as the acute setting.

“My confidence has also improved as I have grown in my knowledge and skills. I’m looking forward to further development and qualifying as an OT next year”.

Councillor Boyd Elliott, Chairman of Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said: “This additional funding will offer an excellent opportunity for more aspiring Social Workers and Occupational Therapists, like Joanne and Saddaf, to fulfil their potential. The issues around recruitment in social care are well documented, so if we can utilise the talent we already have and incentivise our existing staff to move to the next level, this can go some way to resolving that.

“We know our social care staff have been under pressure, particularly during the pandemic. We are committed to helping them train and develop and we believe this investment in our workforce will have a positive impact on the people they support.”

The Social Work apprenticeship course lasts for three years and the Occupational Therapy course can run for three or four years depending on the university. On successful completion of the programme, Occupational Therapists are eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professional Council for registration as an Occupational Therapist. Social Workers can apply to the Social Work England resister and then work as newly qualified staff.

You can read the full committee report.

 

ENDS

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