Routes into social work

Step Up to Social Work programme

Step Up to Social Work is an intensive, 14-month, full-time programme, which is funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

The programme aims to encourage graduates with related experience to enter the social work profession to work with children and families. However, it provides candidates with a generic social work qualification which can be used to work with either children and families or adults.

The programme runs every 2 years, dependent on government funding. The programme is delivered by Anglia Ruskin University, working in partnership with local authorities in the Eastern region. The next programme is expected to start in January 2024.

You will learn through a combination of academic study and real hands-on experience, with two placements in Norfolk County Council teams.


All course fees are funded by DfE, and you will receive a bursary of £19,833 over the duration of the programme to support your living costs.


You will need:

  • A degree-level qualification in any discipline except social work from a UK higher education institute or an approved overseas equivalent
  • A minimum 2:1 level 6 degree qualification, for example, an honours degree or a graduate certificate, or, a minimum 2:2 honours degree plus a postgraduate qualification (level 7 or above) for example, a master’s degree or a postgraduate certificate/postgraduate diploma
  • GCSEs in English or English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, or the new grade 4 and above (or an approved equivalent)
  • A completed degree - final year students are not eligible to apply
  • Evidence of your qualifications, such as certificates. This is mandatory for overseas qualifications. You will need to upload this evidence when you submit your application.
  • A minimum of 6 months' full-time (or equivalent) direct experience of working with vulnerable children, young people and/or families/carers or adults, either in a paid or voluntary capacity
  • A driving licence and use of a vehicle in some locations - or confirm that you’ll be able to travel for work if you do not have a vehicle
  • An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

You must also live in England.

How to apply

Submit your application on the Step up to Social Work website. The next application window is expected to open in early 2023.