Team supporting training of social workers are recognised

Rebeka Hillyard, Emily Smith and Charlotte Chapman with Gerard Jones (Assistant Director Children's Services Operations at Central Bedfordshire Council)
Rebeka Hillyard, Emily Smith and Charlotte Chapman with Gerard Jones (Assistant Director Children's Services Operations at Central Bedfordshire Council)

Three young people have received a qualification in recognition for their work in helping to train some of Central Bedfordshire Council’s social workers.

Charlotte Chapman, Emily Smith and Rebeka Hillyard are all members of Central Bedfordshire’s Children in Care Council.

On Monday, March 23, they were presented with their certificates at a meeting of Central Beds’ Corporate Parenting Panel.

The AQA Delivering A Training Course To Social Workers qualification gives the Children in Care Council members formal recognition for the work they have been doing with newly qualified social workers in their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment.

The training programme was designed by the Children in Care Council members with the council’s Youth Support Services making sure that the award was accredited by awarding body AQA.

The young people wanted to use their own personal experiences to deliver a training programme which allowed the social workers to think about the voice of the child within their practice and use creative methods to do this which can be used in their work with children and young people.

Charlotte said: “As a member of the CiCC, we want to make sure children and young people get the best service possible. We think that by training social workers and using our experiences we can help develop the way they engage with children and young people.”

It is done in collaboration with the Academy of Social Work and Early Intervention, a partnership between the council and the University of Bedfordshire which was launched last June and offers learning and development opportunities to everyone in the children’s workforce in Central Bedfordshire or those thinking about joining it.

The Academy learnt last month that its Assessed and Supported Year in Employment programme had been endorsed by The College of Social Work after meeting its quality criteria and offering provision that meets the continuing professional development learning needs of social workers.

The Academy has achieved the national matrix Standard for information, advice and guidance.

The young people are involved right from the application stage when they take part in an assessment centre with people applying to be social workers. They score all of those taking part and that is taken into consideration along with formal interviews and written tests.

They also organise and deliver focus groups and evaluate the outcomes of the programme.

Sue Harrison, the council’s Director of Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted that Charlotte, Emily and Rebeka are being recognised for their hard work.

“Having young people involved in the recruitment process and delivering training may come as a surprise to potential social workers.

“However, they quickly recognise the benefits of a two-way relationship and it highlights the importance of young people having a voice.

“This approach, which follows government best practice, helps to explain why potential social workers now see Central Bedfordshire as an excellent place to begin their career.

“Having a talented and stable workforce is key to helping families across Central Bedfordshire who need our support.”

Anyone interested in a career in social work with Central Bedfordshire Council should visit

And for more information about the Children in Care Council email