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Start a new career in child and family social work

16 March 2023

Graduates and people looking for a career change are being invited to ‘Step Up to Social Work’ and join Plymouth City Council’s Children’s Services team.

Step Up To Social Work is a 14-month, full-time, highly-rewarding training programme for talented graduates and career changers to become the next generation of child and family social workers.

It is designed for people who want to become a social worker but do not have a degree in social work. Successful applicants train through a combination of academic study and hands on social work experience in a local authority, receiving support with training costs and a bursary of £19,833 over the duration of the programme. Applications are open now.

Applicants eligible for the programme, which includes financial support alongside training, will be individuals with experience of working with vulnerable children, young people, families or adults, and who can demonstrate emotional resilience and potential for success.

Step Up To Social Work aims to attract applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds resulting in a workforce that represents the society that we serve.

Councillor Charlotte Carlyle, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Children and Young People said: “Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in Plymouth, and our team of social workers play a vital role here in helping to support vulnerable children and their families. If you’re looking for a new career where you can really make a positive difference to people’s lives, please consider stepping up to social work and joining our passionate and determined Children’s Services team.”

Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, Claire Coutinho said:  “I’ve been truly inspired by the social workers that I’ve met. The passion and support they provide for children and families is a real testament to the profession and it is what makes it such a rewarding career. To attract more great social workers we’re helping councils, including Plymouth City Council, with recruitment and retention, along with better support for social workers with new early career development.” 

The Step Up programme is backed by a £25 million investment by the Department for Education to support 700 individuals to enter the social work profession in local authorities across England in 2024.

This will be the eighth cohort of Step Up since 2010, since then the programme has successfully supported over 2,300 social workers to enter the profession across England.  

Apply here.  

Key Information:

  • More information about applying to Step Up to Social Work can be found here: Home | Step Up to Social Work (
  • Applications are open now and close on the 24 March (subject to regional demand), followed by regional assessment centers for candidates successful at the initial application stage.
  • Students can expect to start the programme in January 2024, completing their training in March 2025.
  • Candidates are eligible to apply if they hold a minimum 2:2 level 6 degree qualification to apply to the programme. They should also have GCSEs in English or English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, or the new grade 4 and above (or an approved equivalent).
  • Candidates should also be able to demonstrate significant experience of either working or substantial volunteering with vulnerable children, young people and/or families/ carers or vulnerable adults.
  • The programme is for those without a degree in social work and who want to become a social worker. Successful applicants will train through a combination of academic study and hands on social work experience in a local authority.
  • On successful completion of the programme, trainees will qualify with a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work enabling them to apply to register with Social Work England and to practice as a qualified social worker, making a difference by nurturing relationships with families during difficult times and by protecting children.