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Caithness News Bulletins January 2005

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31 January 05
An information day is being held in Inverness on Friday 4th February, which aims to attract people into, and further develop the careers of those already in, Social Work employment in the Highlands.

People who are already working in social work are invited to attend and those with relevant degrees in psychology or social services who may have taken a career break to raise families or might consider re-training in social work are welcome. Anyone interested can drop in at Hedgefield Management Centre, Culduthel Road in Inverness, at any time between 11am to 2pm on Friday 4th February.

Organised by the Scottish Institute for Excellence in Social Work Education (SIESWE) the information day in Inverness is part of a series of national events being held also in Abderdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow to provide information to graduates interested in the SIESWE Fast Track Scheme.

The Social Work Fast Track Graduate Scheme 2005 has been developed through partnership between the Scottish Executive Social Work Services Inspectorate, COSLA, universities and local authority employers. It provides graduates with a unique opportunity to obtain a professional social work qualification while in salaried employment within a local authority social work department.

Providing information on the day will be:

  • Stacey MacDonald, Fast Track Administrator with the Scottish Institute for Excellence in Social Work Education from the University of Dundee;

  • Alastair Gibson, Course Leader, BA (Hons) in Social Work by Distance Learning, from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen;

  • Laura Gillies, Practice Support Officer with The Highland Council's Social Work Service Training & Staff Development Team.

In 2003, around 100 fast track trainees were appointed via the scheme and in 2004 over 120 further trainees began. Those selected, are employed in a local authority as a trainee until they complete the programme and qualify.  On graduation, they are re-employed by the local authority as a qualified social worker. The duration of the scheme varies from 16 to 24 months depending on which university programme is followed.

Harrier Dempster, Director of The Highland Council's Social Work Service said: "We are committed to recruiting and retaining Social Workers in the Highlands. Two years ago we started our own in-house social work training scheme to improve and enhance staff opportunities for those already working for the Council and I am pleased to say that three qualified trainees recently finished their training last month. All three are based within our Children and Families Teams, they are: Heather Gauld at Culloden; Naomi
Knott at Carsegate, Inverness; and Katrina Beaton at Alness."

The Highland Council's Social Work Service is about to embark on its second round of in-house training for employees looking to improve the opportunities within Highland Social Work. The council is not only looking for its own staff to join their training scheme but also wants to hear from people living in the Highlands who are well educated particularly in a care-related area.

Anyone unable to attend the drop-in day on Friday 4th at Hedgefield Management Centre should contact Laura Gillies at The Highland Council's Social Work Service on tel: 01463 703525 or e-mail: laura.gillies@highland.gov.uk.