Step Up to Social Work is an intensive, 14-month full-time programme for people who want to become social workers, but do not have a degree in social work. The application window closes at noon on Friday 24th March

The Department for Education covers the cost of university tuition and provides a tax-free bursary of £19,833 paid over the duration of the programme. Graduates who have already worked with vulnerable children, families or vulnerable adults are especially encouraged to apply.

On the 14-month training programme, trainees will receive hands-on experience working in a real-life social work role through placements with Somerset Council whilst undertaking their qualification. On successful completion of the course, they’ll be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work enabling them to apply to register and practice as a social worker.

The programme runs once every two years, dependent on government funding.

Applicants will need to meet the following entry criteria:

  • Experience working with vulnerable young people, children and families
  • Minimum 2:2 level 6 degree qualification, for example, an honours degree or a graduate certificate (this can be in any subject)
  • GCSEs in English or English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, or the new grade 4 and above (or an approved equivalent).
  • Original certificates must be presented as part of the application process. If missing, replacements can be ordered online.

Sharron now works as a fully qualified social worker after completing a previous round of the Step Up programme.

Sharron said “The Step Up route was my only viable option into social work, I had dependent children and could not afford to sacrifice my salary to continue my academic studies. I wanted to top up my degree and have a bursary to support that journey, which Step Up provided. I also valued that Step Up recognised the experience from previous studies and employment, this was important to me as a mature student.

My advice for people looking at or considering Step Up is to apply and trust the process. The interview is a challenge; however, it is also something I now look back at with pride and gratitude. I would add that while demanding I was able to complete the programme alongside parenting two teenagers – this was a concern of mine at the beginning, and I was not sure if I could juggle my commitments. There were some hard times, but it can be done!

For more information and to sign up for the programme please the Step up to Social Work website.

Woman working photo

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March 6, 2024