Investing in the social workers of the future is essential to building a profession that is best able to protect and care for vulnerable children and families.
The Frontline and Step Up to Social Work fast-track programmes demonstrate clear value for money and effectiveness in supporting the government’s commitment to improving the recruitment and retention of social workers. Both programmes account for an increasing proportion of postgraduate social work enrolments. Investment in fast-track social work programmes, alongside university social work education, supports local authority social worker recruitment by providing top quality training to candidates who may not have previously considered social work as a career.
An evaluation of Frontline, conducted by Cardiff University and published in March 2016, found Frontline participants to be highly skilled in their practice quality. The report is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/frontline-pilot-independent-evaluation.
A further study, undertaken by Cardiff University to track the retention and progression of Frontline and Step Up to Social Work graduates, found no evidence that attrition rates for fast-track trained social workers at 18 months after qualification are higher than they are for social workers trained via mainstream programmes. The report also found that social workers trained by fast-track programmes demonstrate good progression and high job satisfaction. The final report was published in December 2021 and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-work-fast-track-programmes-tracking-study.