A programme offering people the chance to earn a qualification in social work without going to university is closing soon.
The 14-month Step Up to Social Work programme is aimed at providing training for hundreds more children and family social workers across the UK.
The programme is open to those without a degree in social work and who want to become a social worker.
The deadline for applications is midday on 7 April 2021.
Over the course of the intensive, 14-month, full-time programme, students will learn through a combination of academic study and real social work experience in a local authority, gaining a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work at the end of the course.
Gary Storr, a social worker at North East Lincolnshire Council, graduated from the course in 2017.
Gary said: “Originally I never wanted to be a social worker. It was never my career choice.
“My first degree was in nutrition. I wanted to be a teacher. Whilst I was at uni I started working at the YMCA in Grimsby. That’s how I got into this sort of work.
“When I left uni I had done four years so wanted to get out of education. I went back to work at the YMCA, and ended up being there for 10 years. I thought after I’d done a few years there that social work would be a good progression route.
“At this point, paying for it was the issue because I’d got a house and other commitments. Then Step-Up came along. Without Step-Up I would never have been able to do social work. That’s how I got into it.
“The good thing was the programme was condensed into 14 months, all the fees were paid for, and you got a bursary paid to you monthly like a wage.
“I’m now a link worker for our local authority foster carers, and I really like it.
“My advice is that if you want to be a social worker, this is a route that could get you there, and you should definitely do it.
“I’ve got this qualification for life, and I was paid to do it so I’ve got that qualification for free. It was well worth doing, and it is condensed into 14 months so it’s not as long as doing a degree or masters at uni.”
Candidates are eligible to apply if they hold a minimum 2:1 level 6 degree qualification i.e. a honours degree or a graduate certificate; or a minimum 2:2 honours degree plus a postgraduate qualification (level 7 or above) for example, a Master’s degree or a Postgraduate Certificate/ Postgraduate Diploma, in a discipline other than social work. They should also have GCSEs in English or English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, or the new grade 4 and above (or an approved equivalent).
Candidates should also be able to demonstrate significant experience of either working or substantial volunteering with vulnerable children, young people and/or families/ carers or adults.
For more information about the Step Up programme, email Learning and Development Advisor Rebecca Smith on Rebecca.Smith@nelincs.gov.uk.
To apply, visit www.gov.uk/guidance/step-up-to-social-work-information-for-applicants. The programme closes to applications at midday on 7 April 2021.