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Employers' Experiences and Views of Grow Your Own Social Work Programmes: A Qualitative Interview Study

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In the light of expressed support for Grow Your Own or employer sponsored schemes for social work training, this article explores why they are not so frequently adopted. It draws on findings from a multi-method study of GYO activities and outcomes in England, in particular interviews with 27 participants from 20 organisations employing social workers and funding GYO activity. These interviews revealed that GYO was seen as a means to recruit and retain new social workers, specifically to recruit workers who were able to start practice immediately and needed minimal support, but also to widen access to the profession and to demonstrate evidence of the employers' wider commitment to its non-qualified staff by providing a career pathway. Not all those interviewed were able to provide firm data as evidence of their belief in the value of GYO schemes. The article concludes that the reasons for the decline in GYO schemes lie in the sizeable investment required to develop and sustain them. It identifies some mismatch between the need for immediate solutions to workforce shortages and the longer-term investment in students and in workforce development staff who are necessary to reap the benefits of such schemes.
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Keywords: Employment Sponsored; Grow Your Own; Social Work Employer; Social Work Training

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: King's College London, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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