Routes into social work

Graduate Trainee Scheme (external)

The external Graduate Trainee Scheme offers one year’s paid employment at Norfolk County Council before starting the MA in Social Work programme at the University of East Anglia.

Your year in employment - Children's Services

In Children's Services you would be a Graduate Trainee Family Practitioner in the Family Support Service. You would provide direct work to children, young people and families in their homes or in the community where support is needed. These families require intervention for a range of issues affecting the children and young people in the home. They are beyond support by universal services alone.

You will have a caseload of children and young people and will complete assessments, devise plans with partner agencies and most importantly provide direct work and interventions to bring about change.

You will work closely with social work colleagues within Children’s Services and with partner agencies such as schools and Children’s Centres in the community to support the families you are working with.

You will record your work on our case management system.

Your year in employment - Adult Social Services

As a Graduate Trainee Assistant Practitioner in Adult Social Services, you will gain experience of working within a front-line team with a range of service users. The work will include undertaking strength-based assessments and reviews under the Care Act, determining eligibility and working with the service user, their family and friends to come up with person centred Care and Support plans to meet eligible needs.

You will experience working with other professionals which may include Occupational Therapists, Mental Health Nurses, General Practitioners, District Nurses and Community Matrons, looking at the holistic needs of the service user and coming up with different options in which to support the service user.

During your time you will gain a knowledge of the local community and what is on offer that may support the service user with their independence and prevent, reduce and delay the need for more formal care and support.

MA in Social Work

Subject to satisfactory performance during your year at Norfolk County Council, you will take up a place on the University of East Anglia's 2-year MA in Social Work programme.

Go to the UEA website for more information about the MA in Social Work programme.

Financial information

For the first year, you will be employed by Norfolk County Council on a temporary 12-month contract, pay grade G (£25,419 to £27,514).

You will not be employed while you take the MA, but we will provide you with a retainer payment of £6,500 for each of the 2 years of the MA programme.

You will also be able to apply for an NHS bursary to further help with costs. (There are no guarantees you would receive an NHS bursary. It will be your responsibility to cover any shortfall between the university fees and bursary amount awarded.)

In return for the retainer payment, you will need to sign a contract confirming that you will return to work for us in one of our social work teams for a minimum of 2 years after you successfully complete the course and job interview.


Successful applicants must have:

  • A 2:1 degree completed in the last six years. If you fall outside of this time frame, then you will need to show evidence of recent study.
  • English Language and Maths GCSE at grade C/4 or above. We'll accept functional skills for Maths.
  • A full current UK driving licence

How to apply

Applications are open in spring/early summer each year.

The scheme will be advertised on NCC’s online recruitment site. You will be asked to complete an application pack which will include an application form, declaration of suitability, a reference and an essay. If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to attend an interview and group activity.