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Step up to social work programme

The programme has now closed

What is the step up to work programme?

The step up to social work programme from the Department for Education is a training option to consider when wanting to become a social worker. Applications open once every two years across England - so don't miss out!

Social work regularly tests resilience, stamina, and resolve - all of which you will need to succeed. Social work can be life changing for those you support.

More about the programme

The step up to social work programme is a unique opportunity to receive support while you are training to start a new career in social work.

On the 14-month training programme, you will receive hands-on experience of working in a real-life social work role through placements in a local authority whilst undertaking your qualification.

Once you’ve successfully completed the course, you’ll be awarded a postgraduate diploma in social work enabling you to apply to register and practice as a social worker.

Entry criteria

  • Minimum six months experience working with vulnerable children, young people, families or vulnerable adults (paid or voluntary)
  • Minimum 2:2 level six degree qualification, for example an honours degree or a graduate certificate (this can be in any subject) to apply to the programme
  • GCSEs in English or English language and mathematics at grade C or above, or the new grade four and above (or an approved equivalent)
  • Show all of your original certificates during the application and assessment process. If you cannot find these, you can order replacements online.
Funding icon


The Department for Education covers the cost of your university tuition on the programme and provides a tax-free bursary of £19,833 paid over the duration of the programme to support you during your training.


Subscribe to Stronger Futures newsletter

If you want the latest information on training, subscribe to the Stronger Futures quarterly newsletter. The step up to social work programme runs every two years - so we'll let you know when applications open again soon!