what is step up to social work?, step up to social work funding, elgibility criteria for step up to social work

What is Step Up to Social Work?

By Luke Aldred

Social workers are required to have specific qualifications in order to register with Social Work England and practice.

Each year, the Department for Education, at universities and colleges throughout England, runs Step Up to Social Work. It is an intensive, 14-month, full-time programme to train social workers. Working at a local authority, you gain hands-on experience as well as theoretical learning. At the end of the programme, you’ll gain a postgraduate diploma in social work.

Step Up to Social Work funding

To offset the cost of lost income, you’ll receive a bursary of £19,833 for the 14-month duration of the course. 

Eligibility criteria for Step Up to Social Work

Applicants must hold the following higher education qualifications in any subject apart from social work:

  • a minimum 2:1 level 6-degree qualification, or

  • a minimum 2:2 honours degree plus a higher degree (level 7 or above), for example, a Master’s degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education

Applicants must also live in England and have:

  • GCSEs in English or English language and mathematics at grade C or above (or approved equivalent)

  • A minimum of 6 months experience of voluntary or paid work with children, young people or families

You can find out more about what qualification levels mean on the Government’s website. 

Of course, whether you are a good fit for Step Up To Social Work also depends on several other factors. The Department for Education recommends applicants should:

  • have the right emotional resilience 

  • understand social work theory and research 

  • be aware of the different forms of harm to children

  • be intuitive and logical their decision-making

  • be able to record accurate child and family assessments

  • have an understanding of the knowledge and skills statements for child and family social workers 

  • gain an understanding of the Professional Capabilities Framework for social workers (entry level)

They must also complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before being accepted onto the programme.

Course expectations

As a trainee, you will have to complete 170 placement days of social work experience at local authorities.

The course will cover social work ethics and practice, child development, the legal framework for social care and assessment of risk. This is in line with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). 

Career opportunities after Step Up to Social Work

Successful trainees will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work. They will be able to register as social workers with Social Work England.

Already, the course has proven popular with social work employers. Over 80% of graduates have been successfully recruited into social work jobs and we are pleased to say we know many of them.

We have written a selection of pieces around starting and navigating your social work career. Find out why social workers love working with Sanctuary - register today!