People from all walks of life become social workers. To practice as a social worker in the UK you must have a Degree in Social Work or if you are already a graduate you must undertake a two-year Masters in Social Work. In most cases you will need five A-C grade GCSEs, including English and Maths, and two A-Levels or NVQ level 3 in Health and Social Care to get onto the degree course. But you will need to check exact entry requirements with individual colleges and universities running the Degree in Social Work..
Before applying for a course, consider what skills you can bring to the job. Social work is a demanding job that requires maturity and most universities or colleges will expect to see some evidence that you have done some volunteering in the social care field or unqualified social work that demonstrates you have an understanding of what social work involves.
The Degree in Social Work can be undertaken by mature students, people on trainee schemes or through a number of employment routes. If you are already working at a social care organisation, your employer may sponsor you to undertake the Degree in Social Work. People employed in the voluntary and independent sector will also get help, as employers can apply to The General Social Care Council for funding. You will need to do some research before applying to the Degree in Social Work.
Universities providing approved courses
Graduates may also consider a job in social work.
The Degree in Social Work is generic and will give you general skills in social work but once you qualify it is likely you will specialise in working with children or adults.
When you have enrolled on your course, you will need to apply for registration with the General Social Care Council which regulates the social care workforce. Students pay £10 a year for registration but once qualified it rises to £30. On the three-year Degree in Social Work you will spend at least 200 days in a range of practice settings, as well as completing a number of coursework assignments. As you study for the Degree in Social Work, you will develop the skills you need to be a social worker.
Once qualified as a social worker you can work in a range of organisation and settings, including councils, hospitals, charities and residential care. Salaries vary according to experience and where you live but a social worker living outside of London can expect to start on around £18,000.
The Department of Health provides non-means tested bursaries for people wishing to undertake the Degree in Social Work who are not funded by their employers. How much financial help you get is dependent on individual circumstances and where you live. Part-time students are also entitled to the bursary. To apply for a bursary visit the NHS Business Services Authority. In some cases you may also get assistance with tuition fees.
Unions and the British Association of Social Workers
Once qualified, Community Care can help in your search for your ideal job