Petition Remove barriers to entry to Social Work and encourage parity of esteem between Social Care and Health

The current Welsh Government policy is placing unnecessary hardships onto would-be social workers. Currently, social worker masters students are prohibited from obtaining a student loan and social care bursary concurrently.

We call on the Welsh Parliament to request the Welsh Government to encourage and support social work students from all backgrounds, remove barriers to the profession, and develop a greater parity of esteem between the Health and Social care workforce.

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Social Work MA students are prohibited from obtaining a student loan and social care bursary concurrently. This results in a deficit of several thousand pounds with no support for accommodation, food, utility bills, car, and general living costs for over two years.

This places immense pressures on the future workforce and acts as a barrier to the profession. WG supports our NHS colleagues with grants to pay tuition fees in full, in addition to granting access to living costs bursaries or paid a salary. Many NHS students received the Covid payment when SW students were excluded. This is despite SW students managing caseloads in the thousands throughout Wales during the pandemic.

The lack of parity of esteem between Social & Health care is epitomised by the differential treatment among Welsh students. WG announced a record funding of £227m for the education and training of the NHS workforce. Less than 0.2% of that sum would rectify the difficulties facing SW masters students in Wales.

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