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.
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.