Inside the scheme that converts school dropouts to social workers

Neets often get a raw deal, forced to do short, low-level courses. But one council is having success with a new social care training scheme (Guardian Careers Network article)

Hertfordshire County Council is running a scheme to train young people in health and social care. Hertfordshire’s Health and Social Care Trainee Programme to attract Neets into health and social care aims to offer something more substantial than the usual offer for Neets. Initially run as a pilot in parts of the county, it has just completed its first year as a full programme. Trainees earn £110 a week through the year-long programme and work in a variety of care settings, including residential care, living services and day centres.

One day a week the trainees study at North Herts college, and if they complete the year they are awarded a Btec level 1 in preparing to work in adult social care, a Btec entry-level award in health and social care and a level 1 certificate in health and social care. After completing the course some go on to level 2 apprenticeships, while others find jobs in health or social care. An after-care programme continues to offer support once the training is over.

Craig Watkins, programme leader for Hertfordshire’s health and social care trainee scheme, says the programme was prompted by two things: the requirement to help Neets into work and training, and the expanding need for people to work in social care. The training scheme has places for up to 20 young people; typically it has attracted between 12 and 14, about a third of whom drop out. But for those who stick the course, it has offered opportunities they might never have had.

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