Getting into social work

Routes into social work


The most popular route into social work. You will need to meet the entry requirements for either an undergraduate degree or postgraduate course. You also need to be registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) before you can practice. In general, you will need at least 5 GCSE’s including Maths and English, and 2 A-levels for basic entry requirements. For postgraduate study the typical requirement is a 2:1 or higher undergraduate degree. You can study social work at one of nine higher education institutions across Yorkshire & the Humber.



There are plans to introduce a Social Work Degree Apprenticeship programme in England, which would train around 600 new social workers in per year. The scheme will offer a paid work-based route into social work with a degree qualification built in. While it is currently still under review, there has been interest from several Yorkshire & Humber authorities and a decision can be expected this year.


Fast track courses

These are intensive programmes which get promising candidates into the field quickly while still giving them a comprehensive knowledge base. This route into social work is popular with people who are looking to change career and become a social worker.

Step Up to Social Work is a 14-month intensive course that offers fully funded places. Challenging, but hugely rewarding, the course is the quickest route into practice. Yorkshire & the Humber has the largest Step Up to Social work partnership in the country with 10 local authorities involved and teaching delivered at Salford University.

Think Ahead is a fast-track postgraduate scheme focusing on mental health social work. Successful applicants study towards a Master’s in Social Work from the University of York while working on-the-job and learning from experienced practitioners.


Teaching partnerships

Teaching partnerships were introduced by the Department for Education to help provide the best standards of learning and professional development for current and trainee social workers. Yorkshire & the Humber has more teaching partnerships than any other region in the UK. Studying with a Teaching Partnership gives you access to excellent placement opportunities and a curriculum developed in partnership with frontline social workers. You can read more about our region’s Teaching Partnerships here.


Finding your first social work job

Social work students in lectureIt’s important to keep yourself well-informed about current best practice and any new policy as a newly qualified social worker. Check out our News page to find out more about developments in the field. Staying on top of what’s new in the profession helps prepare you for interview questions.

You can browse vacancies for newly qualified social workers on our Jobs page, which brings together vacancies from all 15 Yorkshire & the Humber authorities in one place.



As a newly qualified social worker (NQSW), you will undertake a twelve-month programme of support and assessment. This Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) helps to consolidate your theoretical learning and build professional confidence.

ASYE assessments are based on the Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS) for Social Work which sets out a national standard for theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the profession.