Social Work Students

What are the different routes into social work?


This route might involve either a 3-year (BA) or 2 year (MA) qualification course, with work-based placements in years 2 and 3 for the BA course, and in both years 1 and 2 for the MA course. You would be trained as a generic social worker and could opt to work in either children’s social care or in adults social care. The entry requirements and admissions processes for each university may vary slightly, so it’s worth checking this out on their website before you apply.

The three universities within the Partnership are Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and the University of Derby. You can find out about them by clicking on the links below:

Nottingham Trent University

University of Nottingham

University of Derby

Open University Degree             

OU presents the learner with the option to remain in employment, whilst studying part-time (usually evenings and weekends). This can be a useful option for those with existing financial responsibilities – a family, mortgage etc. – who are not in a position to be without an income.

Because it’s usually undertaken part-time, it can take longer to achieve your degree with OU, but the benefit lies in being able to remain in work whilst studying.  OU currently offer a BA (Hons) in Social Work, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work.

Step Up to Social Work

This is a 14-month Government funded programme that sponsors a fixed number of individuals each year to undertake social work training – with a focus on children’s social care. You would need to have at least a 2:1 degree  (in any discipline), and some experience of having worked with children, young people & families (either paid or voluntary). You would be paid a bursary of £19,833 each year, whilst undertaking the Step Up programme, and would be placed within a Local Authority for your 170 days of work-based experience.


This route into social work is aimed at existing graduates or those seeking to make a career change, and operates somewhat differently to the conventional university route. It is focussed on training the individual to work in children’s social care.

Following a five-week residential training programme, you will spend two years working in a local authority children’s services department, where you will start building your experience by working directly with children & families. The first year qualifies you as a social worker through direct work with children and families. In the second year you will work as a newly qualified social worker responsible for your own caseload, and will complete a fully-funded masters qualification.               

Social Work Apprenticeship

At present, this option is still being developed, and we will update our information as soon as plans are available. In the interim, we would suggest that you liaise with your own organisation’s workforce development team, to find out what their plans are with regard to social work apprenticeships once they become available as a CPD option.


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