The Return to Social Work programme is a new national retraining scheme for qualified social workers who have taken a career break. The programme will offer free training to former social workers who want to return to local authority social work, but need to refresh their knowledge of current practice.

Return to Social Work consists of 30 days of training, over 15 weeks. This means it is flexible and can be completed around work or other commitments. We’ve put together some FAQs below to give you more detail on what to expect from Return to Social Work.


Applications are now closed – we’ll keep this page up to date as and when we learn about a new intake of applicants.


Questions and answers on Return to Social Work

Who is eligible for Return to Social Work?

You’re eligible for this programme if:

  • You have completed at least two years of statutory social work practice
  • You also haven’t practised social work for 2-10 years

You aren’t eligible if:

  • You have practised social work in the past 2 years, and are still qualified with the HCPC. In this case you would be eligible to return to practice without additional training.
  • You qualified as a social worker within the last 5 years, but have never registered or practised. In this case you don’t need to meet any return to practice requirements.
  • You have been out of practice for over 10 years. In this case you do need additional training in order to return to practice, but the training offered by this scheme would not be suitable.

What does the training cover?

The training offered by Return to Social Work is designed to make sure your knowledge of current practice is up to date and up to the standards set by Social Work England. You can expect it to cover:

  • The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) and Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS) for social workers
  • Current legislation and policy around social work practice
  • Safeguarding and managing risk
  • Social work values and ethics

There will be a mix of classroom-based, individual and facilitated learning.  You’ll also have an opportunity for a work placement with a local authority.

Will the programme help me to find a job in social work?

An added benefit of completing the Return to Social Work programme is the support offered to find a job once you’re ready to return to practice. While you aren’t guaranteed a job at the end of your training, the scheme will coordinate job interviews for you with local authorities who have relevant vacancies. You’ll also be offered one-to-one interview coaching and support to help you prepare.