Students clamour to join social work degree courses

Applications for the social work degree in the UK have shot up by 41% this year, according to universities admissions body Ucas.

Some 52,000 people applied to enter the full time undergraduate course starting in 2010-11, up from 37,000 in 2009. Applications for the foundation degree in social work also rose by more than half to 13,800.

Social work is now the tenth most popular subject out of more than 180, while nursing came top of the list with nearly 95,000 applicants.

Overall it was a record year for higher education applications. As of 22 January 2010 there were 570,556 applicants to all subjects over the course of 2009, a rise of 22.9%.

Mary Curnock Cook, Ucas’s chief executive, said: “There are some systemic changes affecting the figures but we could also conclude that the current economic situation is causing people to apply to higher education as a way of re-training to ready themselves for the job market once the economy picks up.”

The leap in applications to the social work degree follows two national recruitment campaigns in England funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families – Help Give Them a Voice and Be the Difference.

However, universities remain concerned that they will struggle to implement the Social Work Task Force’s recommendations on social work education because of financial constraints.

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