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Step Up To Social Work




Graduates and career changers to child and family social work will be given hands-on training to become the next generation of social workers. The Government is committed to making social work a career to which more people can aspire, and to make it a career that talented people with a sense of purpose can achieve. Step Up to Social Work is backed by £25 million from the Government to fund 700 places across the country, with students receiving a bursary of £19,833 over the duration of the 14-month programme to support them while training.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are opening their recruitment, via the Department for Education (DfE) website (see the link below) for aspiring social workers to join the 14-month national Step Up to Social Work programme, which provides training for hundreds more children and family social workers to support children and families most in need.


The Eastern Region Partnership

Our Regional Partnership consists of Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, Peterborough, Suffolk, Southend and Thurrock. The Eastern Region prides itself on our strong relationships, where quality is at the heart of everything we do.

We have been involved in the delivery of the Step Up to Social Work Programme since cohort 1 in 2010 and have a strong track record of supporting students to thrive and develop into excellent social workers. Many of the graduates from these previous cohorts continue to be employed in our authorities with some now being managers in the services.

We have continued to build on a hugely positive relationship with our Higher Education Institute delivery partner, Anglia Ruskin University, and are delighted they will once again be leading on the teaching and oversight of the academic elements of the Step Up programme.

We know the Step Up to Social Work programme has the potential to support the highest quality candidates to succeed and progress into becoming social workers who are an asset to our workforce and truly make a difference to the families and communities we serve. We are delighted, once again, to be welcoming new students to join us.

This intensive, 14-month, full-time, post-graduate, programme is for those without a degree in social work and who want to become a social worker. Students can expect to learn through a combination of academic study and real social work experience in a local authority. On completion, the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work will enable graduates to register and practice as a Social Worker, making a difference by nurturing relationships with families during difficult times and by protecting children.

Nationally, more than 1,600 students have qualified through the Step-Up programme since 2010, and over 600 are set to complete this Spring.


What do previous Eastern Region Step-Up participants think?

“Step Up was an amazing opportunity and has honestly changed my life. I had spent years thinking that social work was the right career path for me after working in drug and alcohol and youth support roles but could not afford to retrain. I am forever grateful for my place on Step Up and the ability to learn whilst training with financial and emotional support. The course has geared me up really well for working in Children’s Services. I have been in my team working with children and families for almost 2 years now and continue to love my job. The course gave me realistic expectations of my role, helped build my confidence and abilities and was inspirational. I felt well supported but the course also appropriately challenged me and as such, I feel I’ve changed me for the better. I have really grown as a person and as a professional following the training and continue to feel I have found a home for my values of equality and social justice in social work. Thank you to all of the Step Up team”


“I feel so incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to complete my Social Work training through the Step Up to Social Work programme. The support I received from all those involved in organis

ing and delivering the programme was offered willingly and was unwavering throughout. 


Having been qualified now for two years I can confidently say that the train

ing I received through 

Step Up set me up to be as ready as I could have possibly been to begin my Social Worker career. It not only gave me the knowledge and skills required but also the confidence I needed. 

I would really encourage anyone thinking about becoming a Social Worker who has the option t

o join to Step Up to seize the opportunity with open arms!”

What we are looking for

We are looking for strong graduates who have experience of working with vulnerable children, young people, families or adults and who can demonstrate their maturity and emotional resilience.

In particular, the programme this year continues to encourage more applications from male and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates, as we aspire to make the programme and the profile of social work practitioners more diverse and representative of the families and communities being supported.

Eligibility to apply

Candidates are eligible to apply if they hold a minimum 2:1 level 6 degree qualification i.e. a 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, in a discipline other than social work. They should also have GCSEs in English or English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, or the new grade 4 and above (or an approved equivalent.) Candidates should also be able to demonstrate significant experience of either working or substantial volunteering with vulnerable children, young people and/or families/ carers or adults.

The Step-Up programme runs every two years. Applications must be made via the Department for Education website (which also has more information about the programme) please go to Welcome (

Applications are open from 15 February to 7 April 2021, followed by regional assessment centres for candidates who are successful at the initial application stage. Successful candidates can expect to start the programme in January 2022 and complete their training in March 2023.

If you would like to discuss the Step Up programme with colleagues in either Cambridgeshire or Peterborough please email: [email protected] or  [email protected]

We look forward to hearing from you and supporting you on this exciting chapter in your life