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Social and Welfare Services: Training

a guide to careers in social work, probation, housing & community work, advice & guidance

Social & Welfare Services


What training you will need

Funding for Social Work

Social Work

  • If you have not undertaken a 3 year undergraduate degree, there is the option to do a 2 year postgraduate conversion course in social work
  • Courses must be from the Health & Care Professions Council's Approved Social Work Degree Providers
  • Sussex offers an approved MA in Social Work
  • You will often begin your first practical placement shortly after starting your course. You should therefore have relevant experience before applying
  • NHS bursaries are available
  • Frontline features a work-based postgrad qualification and accelerated leadership development. It has on-the-job training in Greater Manchester, Greater London, Buckinghamshire or Essex. You must have a 2.1 or first to be considered, along with 300 UCAS points
  • Think Ahead is a new route to becoming a mental health social worker. You’ll be paid to work in an expert team alongside clinical professionals, study for a master’s degree in social work, and receive leadership training. Applications open in the Autumn, with a deadline in January.
  • Some councils offer graduate trainee schemes, like this from Suffolk County Council (example only)



  • From 2016 the qualification route to become a Probation Officer changes. The Probation Qualifications Framework is replaced by Community Justice Learning
  • There is no longer a requirement to have a relevant degree in order to undertake the new Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP)
  • As well as your degree, you will need to have had 12 months' practical experience of working with offenders or individuals with challenging behaviour
  • If you have completed a relevant degree subject (i.e. Criminology) the PQiP programme is 15 months. For all other degrees it is 21 months
  • If you successfully apply for PQiP training, you will be employed as a Probation Services Officer while completing your training programme

See for full details

Careers Advise/Guidance

  • You can qualify through a higher education or work-based route
  • There is the Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG), which includes the postgraduate diploma in career guidance (DipCG). It is either 1 year full time or 2 years part time, and combines study with work-based learning
  • You can take a Qualification in Career Guidance course or a Master's/Postgraduate Qualification
  • Work-based qualifications are available, too, for people working in advice and guidance settings (e.g. Citizen's Advice or student support)
  • Relevant experience will be important, whatever route you wish to take


Other Training Options