1. ITV Report

Social workers urged to return to work - and help fill staff shortage

Too many social workers are leaving the profession. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Former social workers in Norfolk are being urged to go back to the profession in a bid to address a significant staff shortage.

Nationally, more than one in 10 jobs are empty and councils are having to increasingly rely on expensive agency employees.

Norfolk County Council has launched a new Social Care Academy which aims to not only recruit and retain more social workers but also to encourage people back to the profession.

In addition to that, a national pilot scheme has also been created by the Local Government Association which will offer former social workers a 13-week refresher programme to help them back to work.

One social worker, who does not want to be named, got as far as having her exit interview with her employer after finding the job too tough after having a child.

"I felt the caseload I had and the demands of the job were not manageable for me to be a really good social worker, which is what I want to. Also I was quite tired - it's much harder to manage with a child."

– Norfolk County Council social worker.

But instead of leaving the profession completely, she was convinced to go down another route and, after being self-employed for a few months, she joined a different team at the council dealing with private fostering, guardians and children looked after by family and friends.

She urged anyone considering leaving social work to look at other options.

"I'm really glad I didn't leave - I can see now there are other pathways to go down. I have a much better work-life balance now."

– Norfolk County Council social worker.

Anyone interested in the Come Back to Social Work refresher programme should go to for more information.