A new qualification for social work support staff has been launched in Wales.
The Care Council for Wales has commissioned The Open University to work in partnership with the Council and local authorities to deliver a pilot Social Services Practitioner Programme.
Under the programme, practitioners will become qualified to deliver a range of support services from advice to managed care, under the supervision of a registered practitioner. Once the course is completed, candidates will be awarded a Certificate in Higher Education in Social Care Practice (Wales) – a Level 4 qualification that will assure their competence in practice.
Jacky Drysdale, workforce development manager at the Care Council, said: “This is an exciting development that will not only have a positive impact on the quality of assessment services individuals who use care and support services receive, but also provide career opportunities, acknowledgement and a professional status for many workers who found accessing education and learning while they worked difficult.”
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and the accompanying Codes of Practice highlighted the need for those involved in assessments to have the necessary knowledge, skills and competence to do so – which is underpinned by an appropriate social care qualification.
As well as improving the professional status of those employed in the supporting roles, the programme also aims to have a positive impact on those accessing services.
Local authorities have been instrumental in the joint development of the pilot programme, and each of Wales’ 22 councils has been able to benefit from two funded places provided by the Care Council.
Rhiannon Thorn, Business Partner at Blaenau Gwent Caerphilly Workforce Development Service, added: “The introduction of the Social Services and Practitioner qualification is an exciting opportunity for non-social work staff that are assessing and meetings needs of both adults and children.
“The SSP will support the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 by equipping staff with the skills and knowledge they will need when assessing and meeting citizen’s well-being outcomes.
“In addition, benefits also include a clearer progressive career pathway for staff and a recognition of the assessment work carried out by non-social work staff.”