THE graduation of 28 new children’s social workers through a Somerset-led training scheme was celebrated at a regional conference.

Social workers from across the south west came together at Taunton Racecourse for an inspiring event celebrating international social work.

The conference was organised by Somerset County Council in partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE) and Step Up to Social Work South West colleagues.

It included a celebration of the recent graduates of the Government’s Step Up to Social Work programme, for which Somerset is the lead authority in the south west.

It also provided an opportunity for social workers from the six south west councils that worked in partnership to deliver the programme to learn from each other and the key note speakers.

“Very knowledgeable”, “provided a lot of food for thought” and “engaging and fascinating” were just some of the comments given after hearing from speakers Professor Staffan Hőjer, from the University of Gottenberg in Sweden, and Professor Annamaria Campanini, from the International Association of the Schools of Social Work.

Workshops available on the day included:

• A social workers journey through international child protection

• Confident practice with cultural diversity

• The Polish Community and social services

• Working with unaccompanied asylum seeking children

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for Children and Families, said: “Thank you to our international guests Professor Hőjer and Professor Campanini for their inspirational and engaging presentations.

"This type of event is so important for motivating and boosting the morale of our social workers, who are always striving to learn and develop.”

Tuesday, March 21 marks World Social Work Day.

Somerset County Council will be getting involved on social media – sharing and celebrating the important work that social workers do.

Cllr Nicholson continued: “Our social workers providing daily care, support and advice to some of the most vulnerable children, young people and families in the County.

"It’s important that we recognise the value of this work and celebrate those who do it”.