Western Cape Leading the Way in Placing Social Work Graduates
Media reports indicate that provincial departments of social development across the country are unable to place graduate social work bursars due to inadequate budgeting.
It would appear that this is case in all provinces except the Western Cape.
The Western Cape is leading the way in employing and developing graduate social workers. The department has taken on nearly 100 newly qualified social workers who completed their studies at the end of 2011 funded with bursaries from the Western Cape Department of Social Development. In order to ensure that only the most committed and suitably skilled graduates are recruited to the department, all of the new social work graduates are placed for the first year of their service as interns, with a starting salary of R8 000 per month. After the year is up, those graduates who have performed well will be eligible for permanent placement on a full salary.
The Western Cape Government does not offer bursaries and then allows the graduates to fall between the cracks. There is a need for social work services across the province and, as such, the department is committed to continuous development and training of social work professionals.
At the same time, with the high incidence of serious social challenges in South Africa, it is imperative that public service social workers are committed and sufficiently capacitated to carry out the difficult work that faces them. The system of bursaries and internships that have been introduced in the Western Cape helps to ensure that we can develop quantity and quality of services, better together.
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