Routes you can take into social work

From starting your social work career to supporting your return after an extended break, at West Sussex County Council we’re proud to offer a number of routes to employment within children’s social care.

Routes you can take into social work

  • Currently our BA (hons) Social Work Apprenticeship is offered internally for motivated and dedicated staff within our Children, Young People and Learning directorate. This gives a clear progression path for any of our internal employees who wish to learn and train to become a fully qualified social worker. A social work apprentice will gain ‘on the job’ experience to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours to achieve a level 6 degree in social work.

    Sitting within an operational Children’s Social Care team, the social work apprentice will be employed as a Child and Family Worker while completing the programme. This is a challenging role and they will need to be able to demonstrate that they have the right skills, experience and attitude to become a social worker, as well as the ability to meet the requirements of academic study.

    A social work apprenticeship will typically take three years. At the end of the programme there will be an assessment which will form the final point of the degree. Upon qualification and full registration, the apprentice will start their assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) within our academy, before moving to one of our operational teams as a Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW).

    Visit the Institute for Apprenticeship's Social Worker (Degree) page, where you can get further insight into the role.

    We currently have no plans to open this externally as yet, but will announce on our website if and when we do so. If you would be interested in this apprenticeship, please keep an eye out for vacancies such as our Child and Family Workers, Family Support Keyworkers and Residential Childcare Workers.

    View all our vacancies.
  • West Sussex Social Work Academy

    We are proud to have established our very own West Sussex Social Work Academy, sitting alongside our social work teams in the north and south of the county. We are revolutionising the way we work within our children's services and continue to develop the academy so that we can guide and steer NQSWs through that crucial first year of practice - the assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE). Only the most promising and passionate advocates of children and young people who wish to work in front line child protection teams will be selected to take part in this programme.

    Guidance and support

    The academy provides guidance and support as each NQSW embarks on a challenging and hugely rewarding career, helping to support children and families. They will be equipped and highly trained to become the best possible social worker, with a phased approach to the volume and complexity of their workload. They can expect:

    • reduced and protected caseloads
    • a dedicated training pathway – intensive for the first four months
    • regular reflective supervision
    • group supervision
    • a dedicated, holistic assessor to help oversee their development.

    We need brilliant workers who inspire and deliver change all around them. That’s why we’re looking for talented, ambitious and passionate people to come and join us.

    Our campaign to recruit NQSWs launches at the beginning of each year so keep an eye out for the events, activities and applications around this time.

  • Step Up programme

    West Sussex County Council is part of the South Coast regional partnership. This intensive, 14-month, full-time programme is for graduates without a degree in social work and who now want to become a social worker. Students can expect to learn through a combination of academic study and real social work experience in a local authority. On completion, the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work will enable graduates to register and practice as a social worker.

    The Step Up programme runs every two years.

    "Social Work is a rewarding career and there’s never a dull moment. Being part of a team supporting a child or young person to fulfil their potential and empowering and encouraging families through challenges is a privilege, watching them achieve is what it is all about. Every day is different, from supporting parents with understanding how to best meet the needs of their children to working with schools to ensure a young person is able to stay in education.
    Step Up to Social Work is a great way of training to be a Social Worker if you already have a degree and experience working with children and families. We have a great programme of support at West Sussex, in order for you to have the best experience and gain a good understanding and grounding of the work. If you’re curious about the world of social work, take the leap and apply.”

    Principal Social Worker for Children, Young People and Learning

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