‘Be the difference’ – Step Up to Social Work accepting new applicants as World Social Work Week begins

Categories: School of Health and Society

March 20th until March 24th marks World Social Work Week, a week which aims to bring people together from across the social work sector to learn, connect and influence each other, as well as raising awareness of the profession.

The University of Salford has been part of the Step Up to Social Work programme since 2010.

The Step Up to Social Work course is an intensive, 14-month full time post graduate diploma, and is designed for people who want to become a social worker but do not have a first-degree in that field. The scheme runs in conjunction with Local Authorities, and it is an employer led programme.

The University of Salford delivers the course to partners in Greater Manchester as well as in West and North Yorkshire. 

Dr Lynda Shentall, lecturer in social work and programme leader for Step Up to Social Work, said: “Step Up to Social Work is a great opportunity for people who want to work with children and want to make a difference.

“We are hoping to recruit more men, more people from an ethnic minority, or diverse communities. It is important that the social work profession reflects the people and communities that we are supporting.”

Participants receive a bursary of £19,833 over the duration of the programme to support them whilst training, and there are no course fees. 

Participants must have a 2:2 degree, GCSE grade C or equivalent maths and English and have six months of direct experience working with vulnerable children, young people and/or families, carers, or vulnerable adults.

Lynda added: “It is vital that the social work job sector continues to retain staff and grow, especially with the current cost of living crisis that impacts on families that social workers may be supporting, and in the face of growing deprivation.” 

Jacob Baldon, a recent graduate of the programme, has spoken about his experience of the programme and where it has led him in his career so far. “After I finished my undergraduate degree in 2014, I worked in children’s residential care, for housing charity Shelter with prisoners approaching release and then spent two years at Manchester’s Secondary Pupil Referral Unit.

“When the application process to Step Up opened in 2019, I felt that I was ready to take the step in to qualifying as a social worker.”

Whilst on the course, there are practice placements that help further develop skills and give experience first-hand.

Jacob has since completed an Assessed and Supported year in employment, and in early 2022 was offered a role as a social worker on the Complex Safeguarding Team at a local authority.

Since 2010, Step Up has successfully supported over 2,300 social workers who may not have otherwise been able to access social worker training.

This year’s deadline for applying is March 24th. You can contact Dr Lynda Shentall for more information on l.p.shentall@salford.ac.uk

You can also find out more about Step Up to Social Work here and apply on the GOV.UK website here.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.