Social Work Forum

Social Workers from throughout the Highlands are set to come together for a Forum being held in Inverness today, Thursday, 21 September.

The meeting will see practitioners from all over Highland, across all disciplines, gather together to celebrate Social Work as a worthwhile and diverse profession, while also exploring and reflecting on the varied ways in which this area of work touches the lives of many Highland citizens.

Discussions will also broadly consider the challenges currently faced in relation to recruitment and vacancy control throughout the local Health & Social Care sector and the unique mitigating actions being considered to address this within the Highland context.

The Forum will be opened by Fiona Duncan – Executive Chief Officer for Health and Social Care (Highland Council) – along with Simon Steer, Director of Adult Social Care (NHS Highland).

Alongside open and varied discussion between attendees, guest speakers will also address the Forum on a number of Scotland-wide developments and subjects impacting upon the sector.

Ben Farrugia, Director of Social Work Scotland, will lead a discussion regarding the National Care Service and what this means to Social Work Services.  Following this, Dr Gillian Ferguson, a Lecturer in Social Work, will then take forward a session entitled ‘An incredible profession doing an extraordinary job’.

Chair of the Health, Social Care & Wellbeing Committee, Councillor David Fraser, commented:  “Today’s Forum marks an exceptionally valuable opportunity for social workers from across the region to come together and collaboratively celebrate the profession and high standards of social work practice being demonstrated throughout Highland.

“It is a privilege to have leading thinkers and academics attending to share their expertise with local practitioners and I believe this will play an important role in stimulating further conversation and discussion locally, alongside the implementation of best practice.”

Councillor Fraser continued:  “An area of focus for the Council is addressing recruitment challenges and vacancy control within the Service – while this has been seen across Scotland, it is particularly pronounced and exacerbated due to the rural nature of many communities within the Highlands.  A core element of our strategy to mitigate these pressures lies in encouraging our existing workforce to consider a career in social work.”

He concluded:  “Social Work is a diverse and rewarding career and there are many routes into the profession.  There are a vast number of opportunities for people with the necessary skills, passion and ability to work towards a professional Social Work qualification whilst continuing to live and work in Highland.”

21 Sep 2023