Step Up to Social Work

Step Up to Social Work

What is Step Up to Social Work?

Step Up is a fast-track social work training programme for high calibre graduates interested in career changes, nationally recognised and fully funded. The programme was designed to support highly skilled graduates into children’s social care.

The programme offers you a 14-month postgraduate diploma, enabling you to register as a qualified social worker, followed by a dissertation module to achieve a Master’s degree in social work.

Step Up is employer-led, delivered by the West London Social Work Partnership on behalf of the Department for Education together with the University of Hertfordshire.  

The formal application process is now closed. Applications may open in Spring 2020 for our next cohort, and training would start in January 2022.

Register your interest

What are the benefits of Step Up?

  • It’s funded: you’ll receive a bursary of approximately £19,000 to train, and there are no tuition fees to pay.
  • It’s fast-track: after 14 months you can qualify as a social worker and start employment; following this, you will be supported to complete a dissertation and gain a Master’s qualification over the course of your first year in practice now called ASYE.
  • It’s practice-led: you will be hosted by one of the 8 West London boroughs throughout your training, completing 170 days on placement and gaining the real-life knowledge, skills and experience to equip you for practice.
  • It’s a path to employment: upon successful completion, we aim for 100% employment rates of our graduates within West London.

And why train in West London?

We are one of the only Step Up to Social Work programmes in the country that funds its graduates to complete a research project and gain a Master’s degree, giving you the opportunity to develop your research skills, gain a higher qualification and contribute to best practice in social work.

Most of the West London boroughs are currently rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted. They offer great opportunities for training and development and networking post qualification. These boroughs are at the forefront of improving outcomes for children and families, with a number of innovative practice models embedded across the region including systemic practice approaches, strengths based models, and signs of safety.

Teaching sessions take place in central London, delivered by experienced academics in partnership with practitioners.

The University of Hertfordshire has been awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework, and has been ranked in the top 25 universities for social work education by the Complete University Guide.   

The West London Step Up to Social Work Programme offers excellence in both teaching and practice, laying firm foundations for an outstanding career in social work.

What do I need to apply?

The Department for Education hold central information on the next cohort and application openings. Check on the DfE website for current updates.

  • a minimum 2:1 level 6 degree qualification, for example, a degree with honours or a graduate certificate
  • a minimum 2:2 honours degree plus a higher degree (level 7 or above), for example, a Masters degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • 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
  • residency in England

So, what else do I need to know?

  • The programme is full-time, the current cohort started in January 2020 and the next cohort may start in January 2022
  • You should be interested in working with children, young people and families.
  • You’ll need to pass rigorous academic assignments and placements to progress through the three phases of the programme.
  • This a demanding course require commitment and determination both personally and professionally.
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate emotional resilience to become effective social workers.
  • 100% attendance at placements, teaching days, and skills sessions is required.
  • We aim to employ 100% successful graduates in a front-line team, working with children and families and offer a guarantee of interviews within the host borough.  

Step Up to Social Work students
Step Up to Social Work students

What do our graduates and students say?

“For me, personally, Step Up has been transformational”

“I have found the peer support in the cohort to be invaluable”

“I had really varied exposure to practice in different areas”

“The course really prepares you for the workplace”

Step Up graduates talking about the programme (YouTube)

“This course has put such effort into creating a support and safety network of so many different committed people… I’m really grateful for this, thank you Step Up.”  Student

“I can honestly say that the Step Up to Social Work course has been one of the most difficult things I have ever undertaken, and equally the most rewarding.”  Student

A social worker describes her time as a student on the programme (YouTube)

Step Up cohort 6 update

Step Up cohort 6 began in January 2020. Students on the programme have gone into the academic and skills development stage of the programme.

Further information

If you are interested in finding out more about Step Up or whether you are eligible, please contact the Step Up Practice Manager to discuss your eligibility and/or experience.

To find out more about the role of a children’s social worker, have a look at the Knowledge and Skills Statement and the Professional Capabilities Framework.

Visit - Step Up to Social Work: information for applicants

Fenix Cornejo
Step Up Practice Manager
West London Step Up to Social Work
Children’s Services
Hammersmith & Fulham Council

020 8753 5988
07825 420 416

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