Social Work Scotland strongly supports the discussion and reform of bursaries to social work students, and agree that, at such a critical time, the profession needs parity of esteem with clinical and educational professions in the way that students are supported throughout their placements.
Access to sufficient bursaries is vital in ensuring social work is a profession open and accessible to everyone. The well-publicised crisis in social care and social work only sharpens the requirement to support students coming into social work, and to ensure inclusion and diversity in a profession which absolutely needs to reflect the communities they work with. People with living experience of poverty, disabilities, care experience or caring responsibilities, and from a variety of minority backgrounds, can face bigger barriers to qualify, and placements are a critical part of the experience needed to be an excellent social worker.
Their letter to the Scottish Government references our report Setting the Bar, which explores just some of the workforce challenges facing the social work profession, and highlights the cumulative impact that an ageing workforce, the pandemic and continued austerity measures have placed on workers.
Our organisation supports leaders in social work, and having a diverse and strong leadership can only happen if we’re encouraging a wide range of people into the profession and making space for them to develop; as a student and newly qualified social worker, through to management and beyond.