Tusla to offer employment to all graduating social-work students

Move aims to tackle recruitment pressures facing the Child and Family Agency

Tusla often has difficulty hiring more social workers than the numbers that leave the State body or retire each year. File photograph: Alan Betson

Tusla often has difficulty hiring more social workers than the numbers that leave the State body or retire each year. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has said it will offer employment to all graduating social-work students this year, as part of an ongoing recruitment drive.

About 200 students graduate each year as social workers. Tusla is to offer this cohort permanent contracts in an attempt to attract graduates to the State agency ahead of competing private providers.

The move is part of a focus in recent years on tackling the recruitment and retention pressures facing the agency.

Tusla chief executive Bernard Gloster described the offer to final-year students as a “significant step” in efforts to hire more social workers.

“Our offer to final year social work students to secure a career with the agency before qualifying demonstrates the critical importance of the work,” he said.

Mr Gloster said social workers and their colleagues had been “reminded of their value” while working with vulnerable children and families over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said the offer by Tusla was an “innovative” example of the agency’s focus on “ensuring there are enough frontline workers around the country to provide support to vulnerable children and families”.

The low number of spaces on social-work college courses and increasing competition for graduates has been a growing issue for Tusla.

Tusla often has difficulty hiring more social workers than the numbers that leave the State body or retire each year.

Last year Tusla converted a large number of agency employees on to staff contracts, leading to a net increase of 100 social workers.