Step up to Social Work

Do you have what it takes to ‘Step Up’ to social work?





About Social Work

Social work is both a challenging and rewarding career through which you can make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children and families. You will need to build relationships with families facing difficult times, show a lot of patience and be a good listener. You will also need good observational skills, analytical thinking and sound judgement to make the right decisions and protect children. 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.

Recruitment for the programme is now open, with assessment centres scheduled for June/July 2023, and a January 2024 programme start date. The programme runs once every two years, dependent on government funding, so if you are interested, make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to apply on the Step up to Social Work application portal. Closing date 3 April 2023.

Social Work EnglandPostgraduate Diploma

Through our successful 14-month Step Up to Social Work programme you will receive intensive, hands-on experience of working in a real-life social work role through placements in a local authority. Once you’ve successfully completed the course, you’ll be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work enabling you to register and practice as a social worker.


This is a unique opportunity to earn while you learn, as the Department for Education provides funding via a tax-free bursary payment of £19,833, over the duration of the programme, and payment of University fees for successful applicants. This will allow you to change or start a new career in social work and be able to continue to pay your bills and fund your living costs while you are studying.

Entry criteria

We are looking for dedicated individuals who have experience of working with vulnerable children, young people, families or vulnerable adults and who can demonstrate their maturity and emotional resilience. We encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates and aim to have a workforce that represents the society that we serve.

You will need to have a minimum 2:2 level 6 degree qualification, for example an honours degree or a graduate certificate (this can be in any subject) to apply to the programme. You 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). You will need to show all of your original certificates to us as part of the application and assessment process. If you cannot find these, you can order replacements online

We are particularly interested in applications from men and from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates, as these groups are under-represented in this area of social work.

Your 14-month programme will pass very quickly, and if your local authority has vacancies you will be guaranteed an interview for a social worker role in children and families statutory social work. The starting salary for a social worker in most authorities in this region is around £30k per annum.

University of Bedfordshire Partnerships

The University of Bedfordshire is partnered with two Step Up Regional Partnerships: South East (Oxfordshire, Milton Keynes, Central Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire) and the Central Eastern (Hertfordshire, Luton and Bedford.) Students can expect to start the programme in January 2024, completing their training in March 2025.

Please see below for the Central Eastern Evenbrite links for their Q&As -

Please see below for the SE Regional Partnership Eventbrite links for their Q&As -