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, 14-month, full-time, employer-led training programme for trainee social workers. Students will be working in a local authority, gaining hands-on practitioner experience and academic learning.
The application process for candidates to apply for the next cohort (cohort 5) will take place in March 2017, and training will begin in January 2018. Use our online form to register your interest in taking part.
Check this page in early 2017 for confirmation of the application process and details of which local authorities will be taking part.
Applicants must have one 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 or families
- the right to remain and work in the UK
Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria at the time of submitting an application form and will be required to provide evidence of their qualifications with their application.
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 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
- have an understanding of the Knowledge and Skills Statements for Child and Family Social Workers
Step Up trainees and other student social workers must complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before being accepted onto the programme.
A minimum of 170 placement days of social work experience in local authorities is generally undertaken, alongside academic elements, with the course covering 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 will receive a bursary 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 will assign students to a supervisor for placements and the university will supply a tutor for academic supervision.
After the course
Students who finish the programme successfully will qualify with a postgraduate diploma in social work. They will be able to register as social workers with the HCPC.
Around 80% of graduates so far have been successfully recruited into social work jobs at the end of the course.
Published: 13 August 2014
Updated: 23 December 2016
- Updated the application process, eligibility requirements and course content for the next cohort of the Step Up to Social Work programme.
- 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.