"We are passionate and ambitious for the children and families we support"

Hilary Brooks, Director of Children’s Services


Four office workers chat while seatedHere in St Helens we are passionate about creating an environment where people can thrive. We have created a Social Work Academy to help us achieve this.

The Social Work Academy’s vision is from the moment anyone comes to St Helens they feel supported, valued and excited by their opportunities.

In practice this means:

  • As an ASYE, a 2-week induction programme and no cases for the first month
  • ASYE forum with individual and group supervisions and a great mentor
  • ASYE Plus 1 – a dedicated offer for those who have completed their ASYE
  • Low caseloads for all staff – which are monitored by Senior Managers and reported to Department Leadership Team (DLT) and Children’s Improvement Board (CIB)
  • Reflective and protected Supervision for all
  • A training programme that is built around BASW competencies and has progression opportunities
  • The opportunity to become a Practice Educator (with an additional top-up), helping us to inspire and develop new social workers
  • A very active and vocal Practitioner Forum
  • Development and career progression opportunities – with opportunities to explore new areas such as mental health, drug and alcohol and domestic violence – within children’s and adult services
  • Emotional well-being checks
  • Bi-monthly staff engagement events with a range of guest speakers

By building this social work community the aim is to make sure our social workers are supported, have great opportunities but ultimately have the time and head space to spend quality time with our children and young people.

The Social Work Academy also provides the opportunity to nurture potential social workers; we have an active apprenticeship scheme, and are developing our ‘Grow Your Own’ and volunteer scheme.

We also have an active subscription to Research in Practice (RIP) that all staff are encouraged to utilise.

As well as all of the above, did you know that St Helens is a member of the Cheshire and Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership? This provides our social care workforce with a range of amazing learning and development opportunities…

ASYE – there is a regional training and network in place. The networks have specialist speakers focused upon areas relevant to ASYEs.

ASYE+1 – once qualified, there is also a regional network and support in place for you too!

They have lunchtime sessions once a month covering Critical Issues in Practice – this is a great opportunity to add to your CPD while learning from guest speakers and other colleagues across the region.

Are you interested in:

  • Research? They currently have 14 research projects on the go with more funding opportunities opening up
  • Teacher Practitioner Status? They have a programme with Liverpool John Moores University, which allows you to progress to become an Associate of the University
  • Helping new Social Workers? They have a Peer Mentor scheme and Practice Educators programme.

Find out more at teachingpartnership.org

All of these opportunities are on top of the great in-house programme St Helens has and we continually strive to develop more!