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INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL WORKERS IN ENGLAND: CHALLENGES AND WAYS FORWARD Shereen Hussein, Kings College London Cathrine Clarke, General Social Care Council.

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Presentation on theme: "INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL WORKERS IN ENGLAND: CHALLENGES AND WAYS FORWARD Shereen Hussein, Kings College London Cathrine Clarke, General Social Care Council."— Presentation transcript:

1 INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL WORKERS IN ENGLAND: CHALLENGES AND WAYS FORWARD Shereen Hussein, Kings College London Cathrine Clarke, General Social Care Council

2 ABOUT THIS PRESENTATION Findings form national research on international social workers in England, funded by the Department of Health Trends and profile Views of international social workers in England Update from the General Social Care Council (GSCC) Recent developments Complexities in recognising social work qualifications from over 80 countries

3 ABOUT THE RESEARCH Builds on a national study funded by the Department of Health examining the contribution of international care workers in England This strand focuses on the experience of international social workers Draws on additional data obtained through an online survey and a focus group with newly arrived international social workers

4 DATA AND PARTICIPANTS GSCC register of social workers in England who qualified outside the UK up to end of October 2008 (7200 records) Recent applications and registration data during 2008 and 2009 In-depth interviews with 18 international social workers working in England Findings of an online survey related to 43 international social workers Focus group discussion with 7 newly arrived international social workers

5 BRIEF SUMMARY OF PROFILE In October 2008, around 8% of social workers in England had qualified outside of the UK No estimate can be obtained for international social workers who qualified in the UK 32% qualified in two countries: Australia and South Africa Followed by 13% from the US and 12% from India International social workers are significantly younger than UK-qualified social workers and include more men (particularly from certain regions)

6 RECENT TRENDS Since 2004, Australia, South Africa, US and India remain top four sending countries However, a steady increase is observed for EU countries, particularly A8 Last two years saw an increased volume of applications from the EU In 2009 number of EU applications increased by 49% from 2008 Registrations for EU applicants increased by 36% for the same period During the same period applications from outside the EU slightly declined by 2%

7 International social workers perspectives Only 14% reported having great deal or major difficulties to get their qualifications recognised; most of them refer to experience 5 years or more old. Major challenges while working in the UK is that social work does not offer very good career progression opportunities. This was followed by limited social life. Understanding the English culture; being left out of decision making and own culture being not understood by colleagues and employers each was reported by almost a fifth of participants Two thirds of participants indicated a medium to high level of mobility As indicated by their willingness to move sector/country within the next 3 years

8 Main differences in practice Over half (52%) felt that social work practice in the UK is very different from that at their home countries; and 40% felt its a bit different. Differences included: Availability and types of services Nature of practice (preventive vs. reactive) Structure and regulation (positives and negatives) Resources (government vs. charitable funding) Social work image

9 Examples of differences in practice A lot more structured regarding national procedures in Britain than in Germany. A lot more staff turnover in xx which leads to insufficient relationship building with clients. (Germany) Starting from the historical background, systems and social & cultural differences, to legislation and methodology of implementation, pay rates, approaches, availability of services. Basically, everything is different. (Romania) In Australia Social Workers are held in high regard and one is never reluctant to say what they do. (Australia) The level of deprivation and poverty is a lot higher in South Africa. Different needs and challenges to face i.e. an issue like HIV is not a major concern in the UK. (South Africa)

10 Importance of team work Building up a good working relationship with your colleagues who you can for information, you know, its a gold mine. So its important that you dont isolate yourself. Like you get involved with the team quickly and build up good relationships that they can support you and then, you know, coming form Canada I come with certain attitudes and skills and stuff that benefit them as well. So, its kind of a two-way thing. (Canadian social worker)

11 The GSCC efforts and perspective Increasing levels of applications from within Europe particularly Poland and Germany. Change of comparator to the degree in 2009 The care council introduced a minimum of 130 days supervised and assessed practice Possible effect on qualifications obtained from certain (African) countries New, shorter application forms Aptitude tests and interviews

12 Key Challenges How to measure the quality and relevance of supervised and assessed practice European social work qualification frameworks and workforce contexts: Case studies of Poland, German and the Netherlands Academic levels Professional activities are placed over and above the academic content Compensation measures Make up the gaps through an approved training plan Language Temporary social workers

13 Opportunities and future plans Diverse workforce Varied experience Knowledge transfer and international learning Views from different social and political contexts thinking outside the box Steps to smooth the process Induction and training Initial and continuous Employer and peer support

14 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND FURTHER READINGS We are grateful to the funder, the Department of Health, Social Care Workforce Initiative, to the GSCC for providing necessary data and for all participants Hussein S., Stevens M. and Manthorpe J. (2010) International Social Care Workers in England: Profile, Motivations, experiences and Future Expectations, February Final Report to the Department of Health, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, Kings College. Hussein S., Manthorpe J. and Stevens M (2009) The Experiences of International Social Care Workers in the UK: Findings from an Online Survey. November 2009, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, Kings College London.

15 THANK YOU Shereen Hussein: Cathrine Clarke:


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