Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Celebrity Fronted Social Worker Recruitment Drive for 5000 Jobs

A TV campaign is being launched to try to recruit more than 5,000 social workers, amid fears the ‘Baby P’ case has turned people off the profession, the BBC reported.

Launching the appeal, actress Samantha Morton spoke of the "wonderful" social workers who supported her as a child. Fashion designer Sadie Frost, former Eastenders star Michelle Ryan and musician Goldie are also among those appearing in the adverts.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls said social workers "transform lives".
"Thousands of children and families desperately need the help and support social workers give in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations. It is a job that makes a difference in ways that most of us can only begin to imagine," he said, adding that its success stories were "rarely heard".

‘The Help Give Them A Voice’ campaign aims to attract back social workers who may have left the profession and people looking for a career change, as well as people making initial career choices.

Emilia Fox, another actress supporting the campaign, said: "I think we have got to a really critical situation so this is really to encourage people into a profession with responsibility."

In May, a survey for the Local Government Association (LGA) suggested the criticism of the profession following the ‘Baby P’ case had had a "highly damaging effect" on the ability of local councils in England to recruit social workers.

It found 60% of the 56 councils taking part in the study had experienced problems hiring children's social workers and 40% reported difficulties in retaining experienced staff.

Although this story appears positive and will probably prove to be a successful ‘recruitment drive’, is it really the right way to recruit staff that I’m sure everyone will agree play a pivotal role in society today for many people? It is a job with great responsibility and requires a certain type of person – caring and trustworthy are just two of the vital requirements of someone who would be successful in this career.

Am I being too analytical and pernickety to suggest that this is a waste of time and may attract the wrong type of people? I view this type of profession as one that people are born with the character to do or not, a vocation that no matter what training and skills can be provided to people, they may not be able to cope or do the job competently as it’s a lot more than a nine till five.

The same as a priest or nurse may feel that their profession was their calling; it’s a job that requires a similar nature and commitment to a cause. A lot of amazing social workers exist out there and as reported many have left due to the work conditions and treatment they received. Does it not make sense then to improve on these conditions instead of attracting masses of people, many of whom may be wholly unsuitable?

I understand there is a shortage of staff and they need to take action to ensure these positions are filled but does a celebrity endorsed recruitment drive really reflect the seriousness of the job? Is it really appropriate, no matter what the experiences of these celebrities have been? It is the ordinary ‘Joe Public’ that these people need to help and I just don’t think it’s a great way to recruit these important people. I feel a more targeted campaign if any and internal improvements to the departments makes a lot more sense.

I could be wrong, what are your thoughts?

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