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Step Up to Social Work programme proves a success

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The first students to graduate from the Step Up to Social Work training programme have been presented with their Masters certificates by children’s minister Tim Loughton.


Step Up is a (somewhat controversial, albeit popular) fast-track route into social work, which is being piloted by the eight west London local authorities that make up the West London Alliance (WLA). The scheme gives trainees intensive on-the-job experience split into three placements while they study for an MA in social work. 


It has been specifically designed to train people who are looking to change their careers and become qualified social workers in 18 months instead of the usual two years.


The 31 graduates are now going to be employed on a two-year contract in one of the WLA councils: Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Harrow, Brent, Westminster, Ealing, Kensington and Chelsea or Hounslow. 


What the graduates thought of the course:


Sabine Kadhaya, a mature trainee who worked for Brent Council as a social work assistant before joining the Step Up programme, said: “I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work with children, which led me to a career in early years. While studying for my first degree in childhood and youth studies, I came across an advert for a social work assistant position in Brent that looked really interesting. Through my work I realised what impact the appropriate social care intervention could have on the lives of children and their families. After working as social work assistant for a year, Brent’s learning and development officer brought Step Up to my attention.


“The training was intensive and took a lot of time away from my family, which, at times, was difficult to cope with. However, with the support of my family I managed to pull through. The key skill that helped me along the way was being very organised in order to cope with the pressures of the practical tasks on placement, but also the academic work. I strongly believe that it is never too late for anyone to study once you have realised where your vocation lies.”

About Kirsty McGregor

Kirsty McGregor is Community Care's workforce editor. She reports daily on social workers' pay and conditions, education, training, career progression, registration and fitness to practise. This includes issues affecting newly qualified social workers across the UK and the recent development of the assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) in England. She is also responsible for producing job hunting and career progression advice.

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