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Summary of the Q&A session held with finial year Social Work students

CONGRATULATIONS to all Social Work students who have qualified early in 2020. We are so proud of the work you have completed and look forward to guiding you through your AYE. 


As part of our ongoing support to our Social Work Students/Graduates we recently held a Question and Answer Session based on email queries and recent enquiries and workshops.  There is a bitesize video series available on Facebook at the link below




The Q&A went a little something like this:



Q. Do you recruit in my area?


A. Yes, we recruit across all of NI.  We are a Contracted Agency for the NHS as well as recruiting for a number of private, voluntary and third sector clients.



Q. I’m a new mum and want to return to work part-time, do you have part-time options?


A. Whilst the majority of our positions are advertised as full-time we are usually able to propose part-time, flexible working and job share options due to our varied team.



Q. Are you still recruiting during COVID-19?


A. Many of our community posts have changed how they recruit which we are actively supporting.  Clients have been open to facilitate ‘Working From Home’ arrangements for Agency staff alongside permanent staff.   Things are changing all the time and we are responding to this.



Q. How long does it take to register?


A. Registration will be dependent on referencing and compliance checks.   There are a few things you can do to speed things up:

1. Forward ID documents and paperwork via email rather than post

2. Complete Access NI and make same day payments

3. Contact Child Health Records rather than GP to obtain Immunisation History


The average application can take between 1 – 2 weeks.



Q. Can I start work before I graduate?


A. Depending on the role you are applying for many of the clients are happy to start students on a Support Worker contract until NISCC and University/Colleges advise on AYE status.  The Support Worker role will be similar to your roles and responsibilities on placement.



Q.  Can you complete your AYE through Agency?


A. All of our Social Work vacancies are AYE supported.



Q. My Placement want me to return to work, can you facilitate this?


A.  Yes as a Contracted Agency we can register for a specific team and the process is the same for generic recruitment.  Once registering we would advise your line manager of your application and when you become compliant to commence work.



Q.  I have applied through the Permanent Waiting List, but I haven’t heard anything.   Should I still apply through Agency?


A.  I would always recommend to dual apply with Permanent and Agency as it will give you more options for vacancies.  If offered a permanent post you can take up a Short Term Temporary Contract whilst the HR department complete their compliance which can take a longer lead-in time to finalise due to a larger number of applications. 



Q.  I have been offered a Permanent post but I am not sure if I want to accept, what should I do?


A.  There are a few things to breakdown here, is the reason for uncertainty due to the particular team or accepting a permanent contract. Some graduates like to try a few teams before settling into a permanent post as it offers more flexibility in their understanding of their longer term career goals. 


If it is the particular team, you could try the post through Agency which won’t tie you in to a long term notice period.  I would advise if you feel strongly that the offered post won’t be suitable for you I would advise turning this down as if you are unhappy in post it will have a negative impact on you.  Recruitment is so diverse and you will find the post that is right for you



Q. What will I be paid?


A.  As a Contracted Agency to NHS we offer pay-parity with permanent staffing.  Support Worker start at £11.20 per hour and Qualified Social Workers start at £12.74 with uplifts for unsociable hours.  Our Private and Voluntary Sector clients have different funding structures which will be negotiable.



Q. Will I be able to get a mortgage if I am an Agency Worker?


A.  As a Keenan Temp you will have access to our Locum Health and Well-being Package which includes a complimentary Financial Advisory service which covers all financial information including mortgages, letting information, student loans and budgeting.



Q. I am a mature student and haven’t done a CV in years, so I am not sure where to start?


A.  We offer a complimentary CV writing service for all our candidates.  This works by us sitting down together and chatting through your skills and experience, duties and responsibilities and developing a CV together. 



Q. I have been studying in England and have had to return to NI due to COVID.  What are the next steps for me?



A.  We have regularly supported candidates across the UK and further afield to get registered and compliant for work.  The first priority will be to get you registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council.  Keenan Recruitment are a registered endorser and are able to sponsor your application.  Otherwise the registration and matching process are just the same. 




Laura-Lee's Thoughts on the Q&A:


It was fantastic to see the response from Students in 2020 in reflecting on the similarities and differences over the last few years.  COVID-19 is of course having a huge impact, however the great thing about Agency is the ability to develop creative solutions for candidates and clients.  The similarities would definitely be Terms and Conditions and questions about the matching process.   Keenan is a candidate-led Agency which means we listen to the roles you are interested in and work with the clients to find the right match for you. 


I just wanted to add a huge thank you to our students and current team that are working on the front lines who have also got involved to discuss their roles and be buddy’s for new candidates in helping them to find the right next steps in their careers. 


We are here for you if you want to chat about anything Social Work or Recruitment related feel free to get in touch on 02890447144 or email socialwork@keenanrecruitment.co.uk