Students studying to be social workers have reported that placements are affecting their mental health, as Scotland faces a 'workforce crisis'.

Vacancy rates are at a 20 year high of 10%, a situation which could be compounded by the fact that 19% of social workers are approaching retirement age.

The Scottish Association of Social Work has warned of a 'workforce crisis' in the profession and a study commissioned by the group has found that a large number of students looking to move into the profession have said that work placements have affected their mental health.

In total 344 students and newly-qualified social workers gave their responses, and while most reported good experiences a number of significant issues were found.

Nearly 10% of respondents said they had experienced discrimination on placement. 60% said their mental health was impacted by their placement and 49% said they experienced insufficient training opportunities to take on their new role as a social worker.  

National Director of SASW, Alison Bavidge, said: "Our report shows that far too many social work students are still finding placements stressful and difficult. But not only that, many placement experiences don’t deliver the experience and skills social workers need and employers want when students are searching for their first local authority role.

“To address the challenges the profession faces, Government, universities and social work employers must tackle the issues that are resulting in many new social workers feeling so ill-prepared and badly supported as they start their career.”