Fast-track graduate programme offers rewarding career in child and family social work

Applications are now open for seven aspiring social workers to join the 14-month Step Up to Social Work programme run by West Sussex County Council

Darlington Ihenacho, Principal Social Worker

Release date: 24 March 2021

Graduates and career changers who want to work with children and families have the chance of hands-on training to become the next generation of West Sussex social workers.

Applications are now open for seven aspiring social workers to join the 14-month Step Up to Social Work programme run by West Sussex County Council. Graduates must apply before 7 April 2021 and will be offered a £19,833 tax-free bursary to support their training and on completion will be able to register as a qualified social worker.

Darlington Ihenacho, Principal Social Worker at West Sussex County Council (pictured above), said: “Step Up is a very supportive and encouraging route into social work where you will be provided with everything you need to become a qualified social worker.

“We provide training and hands-on experience and personalised support to help build resilience in everyone starting their journey into social work with us.

“We encourage male and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates to help make our workforce more diverse and representative of the children and families we support, so if you think social work could be for you, come and join us.”

This intensive, 14-month, full-time programme is for graduates without a degree in social work and who want to become a social worker. Students can expect to learn through a combination of academic study and real social work experience, with a mix of virtual and face-to-face training adhering to latest COVID-19 restrictions.

Step Up is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs and will provide training for hundreds more children and family social workers nationally to support children and families most in need.

Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said: “This year has demonstrated more than ever the crucial role that social workers play in supporting the most vulnerable children and families in society. This is why we are continuing to focus on recruiting, developing and retaining the best.

"Training schemes like Step Up are open to recent graduates as well as those who left education some time ago, and they are helping to develop a new generation of talented social work professionals who make such a difference.”

More than 1,600 students have qualified through the Step Up programme nationally since 2010, and over 600 are set to complete in the spring.

West Sussex County Council is looking for strong graduates who have experience of working with vulnerable children, young people, families or adults and who can demonstrate their maturity and emotional resilience.

Step Up applications are currently open and close on 7 April 2021. Students can expect to start the programme in January 2022, completing their training in March 2023.

Find out more information and to apply online.

West Sussex County Council is also recruiting non graduates to train as social workers as well as qualified social workers, with a range of job opportunities and training available on our social work website.

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