Step Up to Social Work is an intensive full-time, fully funded, Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work training programme that allows you to become a qualified social worker in just 14 months.
We are looking for people who are committed to making a difference for disadvantaged children and families. You need to have a willingness to learn, be emotionally resilient and be able to undertake this challenging yet hugely rewarding academic degree programme.
This is a Department for Education nationally funded programme delivered by partnerships across the country. There are two partnerships within this region – Yorkshire and Humberside Partnership, and West and North Yorkshire Partnership.
Leeds Council is the lead partner for the West and North Yorkshire Partnership, which also includes Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, North Yorkshire, Calderdale and Kirklees local authorities.
Sheffield City Council is the lead partner for the Yorkshire and Humberside Partnership, which is one of the largest in the country and includes Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley, East Riding, Hull, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, and York.
Hundreds of trainees have qualified through Step Up to Social Work in this region and have gained employment as children and families social workers over the last 10 years. The employment rate for Step Up alumni in our region is extremely high – often, everyone who applies for a job after completing the course is successful!
This is a unique opportunity to earn while you learn, as the DfE provides funding via a tax free bursary payment of £19,833 and payment of University fees to successful applicants. Childcare costs are not funded by this programme. 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. The programme only runs once every two years, dependent on government funding, so if you’re interested, make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to apply!
Applications for Cohort 8 are now closed - best of luck to everyone who applied! Interviews will take place in June/July 2023 and this cohort will start in January 2024 and finish March 2025.
Step Up to Social Work entry criteria
This is a Postgraduate Social work degree programme, so you will need either a BA or BSc Honours degree with a minimum 2:1 classification. Your degree doesn’t have to be in a related setting.
You will also have to have GCSE in Maths and English grade A-C (or equivalent) and you will need to have your qualification certificates to send us prior to any interview that is offered. If you cannot find these, you can order replacements online. It may take a month to get your replaced certificates so apply for them well in advance of any interviews as you will not be able to attend an interview without them.
You will also need to evidence significant experience of either working or substantial volunteering with vulnerable children and families, and/or vulnerable adults.
We are particularly interested in applications from men and people from ethnic minority communities, as these groups are under-represented in this area of social work.
The Step Up to Social Work programme is also a great way for people wanting to change their career to fast-track into social work. People with life and work experience often embrace life as a social worker very quickly.
Your 14-month programme will fly by very quickly, and if your local authority has vacancies, you will be guaranteed an interview for a social worker job in children and families statutory social work. The starting salary for a social worker in most authorities in this region is around £30k per year.
Check out our case studies to learn more about what our Children’s Social Workers have to say who have completed the training and watch our new videos of those who have completed the Step up to Social work programme.
Studying through Step Up to Social Work
We spoke to Lewis, who is now a Senior Fieldwork Manager, leading a team of 6 qualified social workers in Sheffield after completing the Step Up to Social Work course, to find out what attracted him to the programme and what the application process was like from a student’s perspective.
The bursary is one of the major benefits of this route into social work, but the placement opportunities were also a highlight of the course for Lewis.
With a guaranteed interview for any relevant vacancies in your authority, this course has a very high rate of employment, but getting the most out of the course also prepares you well for career progression in your new field.
Children’s social work can be challenging, but making a difference to children and young people’s lives also makes it hugely rewarding as a profession.
Applying to Step Up to Social Work
Applications for the next Step Up to Social Work cohort have now closed. Those who are shortlisted for interview will be invited to an assessment centre which will be held in June/July and following success, applicants will be offered a trainee contract to start the degree programme in January 2024.
Frequently asked questions about Step up to social work
For more information on Step Up to Social Work, look at:
The Department for Education (DfE) guidance: Step Up to Social Work: Information for Applicants
For North and West Yorkshire regional Partnership contact: SUTSW@leeds.gov.uk
For Yorkshire and Humber regional Partnership contact: CYPFRecruitmentteam@sheffield.gov.uk
A candidate helpline is available if you have any questions not covered by the FAQ document or if you need any support or advice regarding the online application process. The helpline can be accessed via: StepUp@capitaras.co.uk or 03300 417486