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Qualifying social work programmes

If you are thinking about a career in social work you will need to find the right qualifying pathway for you. To practice as a registered Social Worker you will need to qualify with a Degree or Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work.

At BCP Council we support a range of qualifying social work programmes.

Step Up to Social Work  - Applications for 2024 now closed.

BCP Children’s Services is the lead for the South West Regional Partnership Step Up to Social Work programme which is a national programme funded by the Department for Education and runs every two years. The programme is currently delivered by the Bournemouth University in partnership with BCP Council, Dorset Council and Wiltshire Council.

Step Up is a 14-month fast track postgraduate social work qualifying programme with a focus on Children and Families social work and is part of our recruitment and retention strategy.

It offers successful applicants a £19,833 tax-free bursary during the programme and requires you to complete around 170 placement days of hands-on social work in a local authority while you carry out academic learning at a university and 30 skills days.

The outcome is to achieve a postgraduate diploma in social work. This enables you to register as a qualified social worker with Social Work England.

You can apply if you have:

  • The ability to build relationships with families facing difficult times including being a good listener and analytical thinker with strong observation skills and patience. Social work regularly tests resilience, stamina, and resolve - all of which you will need to succeed.
  • A minimum of 6 months full-time (or equivalent) direct experience of working with vulnerable children, young people and/or families/carers or vulnerable adults, either in a paid or voluntary capacity.
  • A degree-level qualification in any discipline from a UK higher education institute or an approved overseas equivalent.
  • A minimum 2:2 level 6 degree qualification, for example, an honours degree or a graduate certificate (this can be in any subject).
  • GCSEs in English or English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, or the new grade 4 and above (or an approved equivalent). Original certificates will need to be see. If you cannot find any of your certificates, you can order replacements online.
  • A driving licence and use of a vehicle by the time you start the programme.

The next recruitment round will be in March 2025.

BA Hons / MA in Social Work 

Other qualifying routes will be through a BA Hons in Social Work or a MA in Social Work - these are offered by Bournemouth University who is our main HEI partner.  For further information please see the university website 

Social Work Degree Apprenticeship 

BCP currently offer a qualifying route through the new Social Work Degree Apprenticeship. Our new HEI partner for this programme is Solent University , Southampton. This route is currently open to employees in Children's Services but may be extended to external applicants in 2024.