Ensuring a good supply of high quality social workers is an important aim for the government. This means recruiting high calibre students with the right skills, knowledge and aptitude from all sectors of the community.
The Education Support Grant (ESG) was introduced in 2003 to incentivise employers to provide social work placements at a time when the entry level to the social work profession was raised from diploma level to degree level. Funding was also made available to HEIs to contribute to the costs of involving service users and carers in the development and delivery of the social work degree. The ESG recognises that finding and managing placements during social work qualifying programmes is an essential part of social work education provision.
Funding restrictions on government departments mean that the uncapped nature of the ESG fund is no longer sustainable and future funding models need to be developed to enable fair and equitable distribution of the grant within the budget. This document seeks views on the options for reforming the Education Support Grant.