Pioneering scheme to train social workers to help people living with mental health conditions

PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 May 2016

John Brouder, NELFT NHS Foundation Trust chief executive

John Brouder, NELFT NHS Foundation Trust chief executive


A £12m grant is set to train talented graduates as social workers to help people living with mental health conditions.

North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) is just one of 16 trusts from across England to be selected to pioneer the new approach.

The trust will be partnering with the mental health charity Think Ahead.

The scheme begins in September and will provide on-the-job training for highly-talented graduates and career-changers to become mental health social workers.

Graduates will work with people to improve their social circumstances by focusing on relationships and living arrangements that can have a huge impact on their mental wellbeing.

The Think Ahead programme opened for applications last year and immediately became one of the country’s most competitive graduate career options, with 23 applications for each place.

For this first intake, the charity has selected 96 participants from more than 2,300 applicants.

Think Ahead recently announced an additional £10m funding from the Department of Health to support two more cohorts beginning in 2017 and 2018, bringing its overall funding to more than £12m.

John Brouder, NELFT chief executive, said: “I’ve seen first-hand the incredible impact that social work can have on the mental wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities.

“Our new partnership with Think Ahead will attract more people into this challenging but rewarding line of work, helping to improve support for those who use our mental health services.”

One in three families now include someone with a mental health problem.

Ella Joseph, joint chief executive of Think Ahead, said: “We are thrilled to be working with a brilliant range of NHS trusts and local authorities up and down the country, who are committed to the importance of social work in mental health.

“We will be working closely with these partners to provide excellent training for Think Ahead’s participants, so that they can make a real difference to the lives of people living with mental illness.”

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