400 additional social work apprenticeships on cards as councils invited to bid for £12m fund

Adults' services departments will receive up to £30,000 per apprentice until March 2025, in bid to boost social work capacity in English councils

Apprenticeships key on keyboard
Photo: Momius/Adobe Stock

About 400 more social work apprentices could be recruited over the next year in England courtesy of a £12m fund designed to boost practitioner capacity adults’ services, announced by the government today.

The Department of Health and Social Care is inviting expressions of interest from councils for up to £30,000 per apprentice to help them resource the recruitment, supervision and training of additional trainees, up to the end of March 2025.

The DHSC said it expected the funding would help authorities boost social work capacity to help them tackle waiting lists for assessments, support discharges from hospital and deliver safeguarding enquiries and other complex casework.

Opening up access to social work

With apprentices able to earn a salary in a council post while they learn, the DHSC said it also anticipated that the funding would enable people unable to afford to train through a traditional degree to pursue social work as a career.

The DHSC trailed the adult social work apprenticeship fund earlier this month, as part of a wider £20m package that will also fund the training of nurses in adult social care.

Today it set out the process through which councils could claim and then use the money.

The DHSC is making £8m in an additional funding round with a further £4m allocated in the spring and authorities able to make one bid at each stage.

To access the funding, councils must commit to employing the apprenticeship beyond the end of the funding period (March 2025) until the end of their degree programme and confirm that their university partner can deliver the training.

Funding must be used on additional apprentices

The fund must be used for additional apprentices beyond those that councils are already planning to recruit and train and may not be spent on the costs of their three-year degree, which tends to be £24,000. These are covered by the apprenticeship levy, a 0.5% charge on the pay bill of larger employers, including councils.

The DHSC said that examples of what the apprenticeship fund could be used on included:

  • recruiting the additional apprentices (excluding marketing costs);
  • practice educator recruitment and training;
  • setting up, co-ordinating and managing the apprenticeship programme or the relationship with the training provider;
  • contrasting practice placements, for example, in children’s services;
  • other non-training costs not currently covered by the apprenticeship levy (excluding any backfill-related costs), such as travel or management costs.

As well as degree costs, the fund may not be used for salary costs for staff covering apprenticeships when they are away on training, which tends to be one day a week.

Councils must submit an expression of interest for round one of the fund, by filling in this DHSC form and emailing it to socialworkapprentices@dhsc.gov.uk, by 16 February 2024.

The DHSC will inform successful authorities in March.

About social work apprenticeships

Social work apprenticeships are degree-level qualifications that generally take three years, with apprentices spending at least 20% of their time in off-the-job training, delivered by a university or other learning provider.

They spend the rest of the time carrying out their substantive role, though employers also arrange social work placements for them, in line with Social Work England’s requirements for students to do 200 days of practice learning across their course.

According to Skills for Care, 740 people started social work apprenticeships in 2021-22. As well as the DHSC funding for council adults’ services to train apprentices, the Department for Education has done the same in relation to social work apprenticeships in children’s services.

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5 Responses to 400 additional social work apprenticeships on cards as councils invited to bid for £12m fund

  1. Deborah West February 1, 2024 at 2:49 pm #

    That £30,000 incentive would be better given to the apprentice graduating social worker to assist their learning, on the job training and living expenses in today’s world with a condition they continue employment for a period of time with the same supervising authority.

  2. Manasvi February 2, 2024 at 5:49 am #

    Is there anything available in London

  3. Mithran Samuel February 7, 2024 at 5:40 pm #

    Hi All,
    Just to clarify, none of the opportunities that will be funded by this money are available yet. As soon as we know which local authorities are being given this money, we will report this. This information should be available in March.
    After that point, it would be worth contacting the nominated local authorities if you are interested in an apprenticeship.

  4. Ola oyewusi February 25, 2024 at 5:20 am #

    Dear sir ,how much is the salary per year for socialwork degree apprenticeship and in addition how much is the non- salary incentives per year?minimum and maximum?Urgent reply please
    Yours ,
    Ola oyewusi.

    • Mithran Samuel February 25, 2024 at 8:01 pm #

      Hi Ola,
      Unfortunately, there are no set salaries or incentives. It would depend on the employer and the role you were carrying out while doing your apprenticeship.