Tender launched for £20m fast track scheme for mental health social workers

Government seeks contractor for provision of mental health social workers

Published on 13th September 2019

A tender to run a fast-track programme to select and train high-calibre graduates with leadership potential in the field of adult mental health social work has been launched by the government.

The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a tender for the Fast-Track Mental Health Social Work Graduate Programme to recruit and train a minimum of 100 adult mental health social workers per cohort.

The aim is to provide the graduates with access to onwards employment in statutory mental health social work, placing participants into a career in mental health social work and to develop a pipeline of future leaders in mental health social work.

"The programme will be restricted to delivery in universities and statutory mental health providers across England," said the tender. "The programme will be accessible for participants across England and the contractor shall have this in mind when organising participant work placements, employment, and facilitating classroom-based learning."

The tender is for £20.0m and will start on 1 April 2020 and ends 31 March 2024. While the contract will cover the delivery of two cohorts, there will be an option to extend to deliver an additional third cohort, meaning that the contract will run for up to six financial years (2020-21 to 2025-26), subject to the decision to extend for the third cohort.

There should be a minimum of 100 participants per cohort, with the option to expand this to a minimum of 160 participants per cohort, which is subject to the confirmation of additional funding.

Graduates wanting to join the course should have a 2:1 degree or higher.
Bursary funding will be available to all Year One participants of each cohort of £17,200 outside London and £19,100 inside London. Year One participants will be placed with providers of statutory mental health services in order to gain direct experience of working in NHS and social care settings. Year Two participants will be employed by providers of statutory mental health services and will be supported by the employer/provider to undertake the ASYE.

Leadership training will be provided alongside the programme to enable participants to develop their personal leadership skills in mental health social work.


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