Step Up to Social Work: information for applicants
What qualifications and experience you need to apply to Step Up to Social Work and other details about the course.
Step Up to Social Work is an intensive full-time training programme that covers everything trainee social workers need to know in 14 months.
The application process for the next cohort (cohort 5) will take place in spring 2017, and training will begin in 2018. Use our online form to register your interest in taking part.
Check this page later in 2016 for confirmation of cohort 5 eligibility criteria, the application process and details of which local authorities will be taking part.
Eligibility criteria can change from year to year. As a guide, these were the criteria for applying in 2015:
Applicants must have 1 of the following in any discipline except social work from a UK higher education institution (or an approved overseas equivalent):
- a minimum 2:1 level 6 degree qualification
- a minimum 2:2 honours degree plus a higher degree (level 7 or above, which can include a master’s degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education)
Applicants must also have all of the following:
- GCSEs in English or English language and mathematics at grade C or above (or approved equivalent)
- experience of voluntary or paid work with children, young people and families
- the right to remain and work in the UK
Non-British, European Union (EU) nationals without the appropriate study visa at the point of applying to the Step Up programme must have been an EU national for 3 years or longer.
In addition to the necessary qualifications and permission to work in the UK, Step Up students must have the emotional resilience to become an effective social worker.
- understand and be able to apply social work theory and research
- be aware of the risk indicators of different forms of harm to children
- demonstrate intuition and logic in decision-making
- show the ability to record accurate child and family assessments
Step Up trainees and other student social workers usually have to complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before being accepted on the programme.
The course covers topics such as:
- social work ethics and practice
- child development
- assessment of risk
- the legal framework
All programmes meet the regulators’ approval. The regulators are the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).
Trainees receive a bursary of over £19,000 for the duration of the course.
Assessment and supervision
Local authorities and universities decide on the way they assess the course. It is usually a mixture of written assignments and exams.
The local authority assigns students a supervisor for placements and the university supplies a tutor for academic supervision.
After the course
Students who finish the programme successfully qualify with a postgraduate diploma in social work. They will be able to register as social workers with the HCPC.
Around 80% of graduates have so far got jobs in social work at the end of the course.
Published: 13 August 2014
Updated: 25 January 2016
- Added details of how to register your interest for cohort 5.The application process will take place in spring 2017, and training will begin in 2018.
- Updated guide because the application window for cohort 4 of the programme closed on 1 May 2015.
- Added information on applying to cohort 4 (ie the fourth intake) of the Step Up to Social Work programme.
- Updated details about cohort 4 of the Step Up programme and clarified the eligibility criteria.
- First published.