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Do the Characteristics of Seconded or Sponsored Social Work Students in England Differ from Those of Other Social Work Students?—A Quantitative Analysis Using National Data

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Amongst initiatives by social work employers in the United Kingdom (UK) to resolve recruitment difficulties is the use of secondment and sponsorship to attract entrants to the profession; commonly known as Grow Your Own schemes. This paper reports on part of a mixed-method research study that asked ‘What works in Grow Your Own (GYO) schemes?’ in England. One important research question for this study was whether the characteristics of seconded or sponsored social work students differ from those of other social work students. To explore this, the researchers analysed around 41,000 students' anonymous data records supplied by the General Social Care Council covering enrolments on social work programmes from 1998 to 2007. The findings indicate that GYO schemes have facilitated the participation of men, Asian groups and older applicants in social work qualifying programmes when compared to the general population of social work students. However, students from Black ethnic backgrounds and those with disabilities have been more likely to be under-represented in such schemes. The findings are discussed within the wider study remits and messages for educationalists and social work employers are drawn out.
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Keywords: Employer-based Training; Large Dataset; Secondment; Social Work Students; Sponsorship; Student Characteristics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: King's College London, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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