In 2016 the Government invited English local authority employers of social workers and university providers of social work qualifying programmes to apply jointly for funding to become social work teaching partnerships. This was in response to its concerns about the limited engagement of local authorities with qualifying training programmes. It was also part of the Government’s strategy to ensure that students qualified as social workers with what it considered to be the right knowledge and skills and to improve their recruitment, retention and development and overall quality of practice. Following an evaluation of one partnership, this discussion paper addresses the evolution of these arrangements as found in consultations with representatives of 10 social work teaching partnerships (held 2017–18), the four original pilots and the six others that were subsequently funded. Drawing on a synthesis of the partnerships’ reported experiences, this paper reports the variations in their approaches and sets out the challenges they faced and addressed, contextualising this in the policy landscape in which they were introduced and operated.
- Social work education
- employer engagement