Cape Town – Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has called for the return of retired social workers into the field in order to help out the younger crop of professionals.
Dlamini said she was convinced the veteran social workers possessed “decades of experience” and still had “enough energy and passion” to inspire younger social workers.
“I will call a national consultative workshop to discuss with retired social workers the possibility of re-entering the profession. We want to bring them back into the profession to serve as mentors to the younger generation of social workers,” she said.
Dlamini, who addressed the media ahead of her budget vote in the National Assembly, said there was a shortage of skilled social workers in the country.
She said given the state of poverty in the country, her department needed the assistance of seasoned social workers because, during their time, they were able to deliver services under demanding conditions.
Dlamini said they wanted to “revolutionarise social work” and instill passion in those who performed the work.
The minister is expected to emphasise the importance of social solidarity in her budget vote speech. She added that it will also give details on the achievements made last year in line with welfare services rendered to children, people with disabilities, women and the elderly, and the role of non-governmental organisations in providing such services.
In a bid to boost its social work skills base, South Africa forged a partnership with UK-based agency, Skills for Care.
The initiative is a social work exchange programme, in collaboration with the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) and Skills for Care.
The programme involves research and exchange of social workers in England and South Africa through the two skills development agencies.
Among others, findings from the programme will inform skills development strategies both in the workplace and educational institutions within each country. – Francis Hweshe, BuaNews