Herefordshire is to begin a social worker apprenticeship scheme from September in a bid to overcome a persistent local shortage.

Herefordshire Council has signed a contract worth up to £360,000 with Coventry University to deliver up to 15 three-year social worker degree apprenticeships, or £24,000 per apprentice.

It will be funded by the apprenticeship levy which the council, as a large employer, has to pay to the government anyway.

“Recruiting social workers to work in Herefordshire, as across the country, continues to be challenging,” the council’s decision notice said.

Apprentices “will be recruited internally through expressions of interest”, it added.

The council already accesses training for social work students and practitioners at Coventry University via a West Midlands-wide partnership.


The new apprenticeships figure appears to match the county’s current shortfall in social workers.

According to a recent Freedom of Information enquiry to the council, the county currently has 15.4 “full-time equivalent” social worker vacancies, and one vacancy for a social work manager.

The council currently overcomes this by employing 12 “locum” (temporary contract) social workers and 3 locum managers, its response said.