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Social Work and Welfare

a guide to careers in social work, housing and community work


You can qualify as a social worker without having done a social work degree. There are a few routes you can take, including postgraduate study and qualifying on the job.

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, but are capped. Each course will have an allocation of bursaries and will decide who gets them.
  • Frontline features a work-based postgrad qualification and accelerated leadership development. It has on-the-job training with local authorities in the North West, the North East, the Midlands, London and South Central. You must have a 2.1 or first to be considered, and at least a C in GCSE English and Maths (or equivalent)
  • 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
  • Step Up to Social Work is a 14-month, full time programme for trainee social workers. You will work in a local authority and successful completion of the programme will lead to a postgraduate diploma in social work.
  • Some councils offer graduate trainee schemes, like this from Suffolk County Council (example only)

Other Training Options

Funding for Social Work