Social work students will receive more financial support from September
The enhanced financial support will be available to undergraduate and postgraduate students in Wales through the Social Work Scholarship, which will provide almost £10million over the next three years to help future social workers.
Eligible undergraduate students studying for the Social Work degree will be able to access up to £3,750 per year over the three-year course in addition to funding made available to them by Student Finance Wales.
Postgraduate students will be able to access £12,715 per year of their two-year course. This will reduce the loan element that students will have to repay after graduation.
This represents an increase of more than 50% of the current scholarship for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Social work is changing; people’s needs change and cases become more complex. The pandemic has added pressures on social work and recruitment and retention challenges are increasing.
The Social Work Fellowship encourages people to pursue social work education with the aim of building a sustainable social work workforce in Wales. The bursary increase is just the first step in plans to increase recruitment into the social work sector, with Social Care Wales due to release a social work workforce plan this summer.
Deputy Minister of Social Services, Julie Morgan, said:
This announcement will provide much-needed additional financial support to students of social work. This will help more people train as social workers, help them stay and complete their course, and build capacity within the system. By accompanying our future social workers in their first steps in the sector, we can better recruit and retain staff in the sector.
Our overall ambition for health and social protection personnel is equal esteem between the professions. Social workers play a vital role in our communities, helping people take charge of their own lives. They are at the heart of our social protection system and the key to delivering effective care, making a real difference for individuals and the communities in which they live.
Welfare Director for Wales, Albert Heaney, said:
I am pleased that we have secured Welsh Ministerial agreement for an additional £3.5m package of financial support for new social work students for their courses from September. This funding, provided through the Social Work Scholarship, will provide an extra boost to help undergraduate and postgraduate students in Wales undertake and complete their courses and increase the ranks of our valued social workers.
Social Care Wales chief executive Sue Evans said:
I am delighted to see further support from the Welsh Government for the welfare sector and specifically for social workers in Wales. Social Care Wales provided the evidence for the Welsh Government to increase the scholarship for social work students. We recognize and appreciate the invaluable work done by social workers across Wales and look forward to seeing more students join the profession. We will soon publish a workforce plan for social work which identifies the range of actions we need to take with partners to support the development and support of social workers in Wales working in all communities across our country. Improving the offer of scholarships is a key element of this plan.
Further details on this new funding will be available on the Social Care Wales website.