Graduates wanted for a life-changing career in child and family social work


Plymouth City Council has teamed up with the Department of Education and other councils in the region including Devon, Cornwall and Torbay to offer a specialist social work training programme.

Step up to social work is encouraging graduates to apply to a fast-track programme to become the next generation of child and family social workers. This is the first time that Step Up has been run in the far South West and will see four trainees working with in Plymouth to achieve their qualifications as social workers.

Applications are now open for people to join the national Step Up to Social Work, a 14-month programme that combines real-world experience in a local authority social work team with high-quality university training.

Successful candidates will be awarded a post-graduate diploma in social work when they graduate, allowing them to register and practice as a social worker.

The Government is working hard to make this a country that works for everyone, and social work is at the heart of this fairer society. This includes making social work a career that many more people will aspire to and have the opportunity to join.

This is backed by an over £800 million investment in social worker training and improvement, including through teaching partnerships, bursaries and our fast-track programmes Frontline and Step Up.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, said: “Whether you are a recent graduate or someone whose student days are long behind you, this is a fantastic opportunity to begin a new career helping children and families. We want all young people to be able to go as far as their talents will take them, and part of that is making sure childhood is a happy and safe time in their lives. I have been inspired by previous graduates of the programme, and I’m sure this year will be no different. I look forward to meeting the next generation of social workers who will be transforming children’s lives.”

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young people said: “This is an excellent opportunity for motivated and talented individuals who are committed to the welfare of children, to qualify as social workers.  As a local authority we are well placed to offer an outstanding experience to develop best practice.”

Step Up is part of a range of qualifying programmes now available to potential students already offered through Plymouth University. It is part of the City Council’s ongoing investment in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in the city.

Principal Social Worker Naomi Knott said: “We have a dedicated Professional Development team and full time practice educators who understand the challenges and rewards of social work education and field work.”

The Step Up programme runs every two years, with more students qualifying as social workers each time. In 2015, 300 students completed their training and we expect over 420 students to graduate in June this year. Many of those graduating will be offered a trainee social worker role with the local authority where they trained.

This year more than 550 funded places are available to support trainees. After applications close in May, students will start training in January 2018.

Candidates are eligible to apply if they have a 2:1 degree, or a 2:2 plus a higher degree, which can include a master’s degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, in a discipline other than social work. They should also have the equivalent of a GCSE Grade C in maths and English, and experience of working with children, young people or families.

More information about applying to Step Up to Social Work can be found here www.gov.uk/guidance/step-up-to-social-work-information-for-applicants