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Students brainstorming
From September students will be training full-time for a BSc at Oakfield campus

Press Release - 18 May 2005

New degree at Oakfield to train local social workers

A solution to the significant shortage of social workers in Swindon could be at hand with the launch of a new BSc degree course at the University of Bath in Swindon 's Oakfield campus.

The University of Bath in Swindon has announced that it is to offer a full-time degree course in Social Work & Applied Social Sciences starting in October 2005. Run in partnership with Swindon Borough Council, this course means that for the first time students will be able to train and practice in their local area.

In recent years the social work industry has suffered from insufficient investment, a poor career structure and a negative media image.

Problems have been exacerbated in Swindon due to an absence of local training facilities, low salaries for the south-west and poor inspection reports. The result is that Swindon is facing significant difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified social workers.

“Social work may have had a poor image in the media, but it is a vital part of ensuring that vulnerable people, including children, are protected,” said Petina Guilietti Simner, Swindon Social Work Degree Coordinator.

“ Swindon has struggled to find and keep enough social workers, which has put a strain on existing services.

“This new degree will mean that local people can train for this challenging and rewarding career in their own area.

“We think this will encourage local people to come forward and will ensure that there are enough social workers in the town.”

Over the last few years there has been a move to place social workers on the same professional footing as nurses and teachers with the implementation of an official registration process, a formalised career structure and professional development opportunities. Part of this is the launch of the new degree.

The course is designed to enable students to gain the necessary skills for social work through theoretical study and hands-on practical experience. It is open to students aged 18 and over.

For more information on the course and teaching opportunities, please contact Petina Guilietti Simner on 01793 464853.

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