Health and social services minister Brian Gibbons praised social services staff for the work they do helping some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
'Over the past few years a lot of work has gone into the recruitment and retention of social workers. We have reformed social work training by introducing a new social work degree and have worked together with the Care Council to promote social work and social care. We have also published guidance to help local authorities develop 'grow your own' approaches to training social workers for the future.
'A Social Work Development Programme has been established within local authorities which helps to support training and development in all areas of social care. In 2003-04 the Assembly Government provided£4.2m for local authorities towards this programme.
'As part of the reform of social work training and as an incentive to individuals to train in social work a new bursary scheme funded by the Assembly and run by the Care Council was established in September 2004. Now all students studying for a social work qualification who are not supported by their employer are eligible for a bursary of£2,500 per year plus fees (if these are not paid by LEA).
'By investing in training for staff we are seeing more and more people improving their social care qualifications and feeding into the social care workforce in Wales.
'With the investment we have put into developing the social care workforce we are starting to see real improvements in services for everyone who depends on them. We are fully committed to increasing the numbers in the social care workforce and to improving the level of skills and qualifications. I will continue to work with Local Authorities and the Care Council to see this happening.'
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