Given the wide range of roles in social care, the entry requirements vary considerably, and further qualifications may be necessary for some roles (eg. counsellor, play therapist and social worker), whilst for other jobs building up relevant experience is more important than further study (eg. advice worker, community development worker, community education officer). Further information about entry points across the sector can be found at Graduate Jobs in Social Care on the Prospects website.
To enter the field of Social Work the qualifications you have need to be accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, HCPC - you can search for approved courses on the HCPC website.
For all courses relevant experience is vital (see ’Getting Experience’ below).
Bursaries are available to train as a social worker and these are administered by the NHS Business Services Authority. If you have any queries about bursaries or student funding - for instance, if you wish to know whether you will be entitled to a bursary, or how to apply for one - then you should visit their website or call them on 0300 330 1342.
A small number of these courses are for those currently in employment and training to be a social worker. Bursaries are not available for these courses.
Think Ahead is a new fast track two year programme (launched in 2015) for graduates to become mental health social workers. Participants will focus on adult mental health, will qualify as social workers in their first year, and finish the programme after two years with a master’s degree in social work. Look out for them at our annual Oxford Careers Fair which is held in October.
Frontline launched a new training route several years ago for graduates wishing to become children’s social workers. Keep an eye on their website - where you can sign up for updates - for application details and deadlines. The two year programme includes 12 months intensive on-the-job training and education, followed by a second year working as a newly qualified social worker. Participants will be paid during the programme and will complete a Masters over the two years. Frontline usually attend the annual Oxford Careers Fair in October.
Step Up to Social Work is a 14 month tailored training programme designed for graduates or career changers which enables trainees to work towards a qualification (Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work) to practise as a social worker whilst gaining intensive hands-on experience. Trainees will have their course fees paid for and bursaries are available as well.
The National Skills Academy run a year long National Graduate Management Training Scheme for graduates interested in a management career in adult social care.