Be the difference
Do you have what it takes to ‘Step Up’ to social work?
Social work is both a challenging and rewarding career through which you can make a real difference for vulnerable children and families. You will need to build relationships with families facing difficult times, show a lot of patience and be a good listener. You will also need good observational skills, analytical thinking and sound judgement to make the right decisions and protect children. Social work regularly tests resilience, stamina, and resolve - all of which you will need to succeed. Social work can be life changing for those you support.
What is Step Up to Social Work?
Through our successful 14-month Step Up to Social Work programme you will receive intensive, hands-on experience of working in a real-life social work role through placements in a local authority. Once you’ve successfully completed the course, you’ll be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work enabling you to register and practice as a social worker.
What funding is available?
This is a unique opportunity to earn while you learn, as the Department for Education provides funding via a tax-free bursary payment of £19,833, over the duration of the programme, and payment of University fees for successful applicants. This will allow you to change or start a new career in social work and be able to continue to pay your bills and fund your living costs while you are studying.
Step Up to Social Work entry criteria
We are 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.
This is a postgraduate programme, so you will need to have either:
- a minimum 2:1 level 6 degree qualification, for example an honours degree or a graduate certificate (can be in any subject), 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.
You 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).
You will need to show all of your original certificates to us as part of the application and assessment process. If you cannot find these, you can order replacements online.
We are particularly interested in applications from men and from BAME candidates, as these groups are under-represented in this area of social work.
Which Local Authorities are offering placements?
The Local Authorities listed below are offering placements for Cohort 7 of Step Up:
We have worked together as the North East Regional Partnership to deliver the Step Up programme since 2015, and we have a strong track record of successfully training and employing our students on completion of their studies.
For cohort 7 of the programme, we will be offering 47 placements across the partnership.
Where will I study?
The academic programme is delivered by Manchester Metropolitan University however face to face lectures and other activities are delivered centrally within the North East Region (typically Sunderland city centre). During recent lockdowns, due to the coronavirus pandemic, some teaching has been delivered online.
To find out more about Manchester Metropolitan University and the North East Regional Partnership, visit:
What happens after the course?
Your 14-month programme will pass very quickly, and if your local authority has vacancies you will be guaranteed an interview for a social worker role in children and families statutory social work. The starting salary for a social worker in most authorities in this region is around £30k per annum.
Ready to apply?
For more information visit:
Step Up to Social Work: information for applicants
Online applications are open from 15 February to 7 April 2021, followed by regional assessment centres for candidates successful at the initial application stage. Students can expect to start the programme in January 2022, completing their training in March 2023.
The programme runs once every two years, dependent on government funding, so if you are interested, make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to apply.
What do our students say?
“The Step Up to Social Work programme is, in my opinion, the most effective way to become a qualified social worker. The hands on, fast paced placement experience creates a realistic experience of what practice will look like upon completion and from the very beginning I have felt like one of the team.” Sara, current Step Up student
“The Step up to Social Work Programme is really well structured and gives you all the theory you need to become a qualified social worker as well as the opportunity to put this into practice whilst on placement, where you’re really treated as part of the team. Everybody wants you to succeed. Good luck, hopefully we will see you on the next cohort." Kirk, current Step up student
“The step up to social work programme has proven to be the best thing I have done. It is a fast pace programme, it is a challenge, but if you are committed to becoming a social worker, then Step Up is the pathway to take. It has given me more than academic skills, it gave me real-life experience and confidence too.” Debbie, current Step Up student