Herefordshire Council's Step Up To Social Work programme has opened for recruitment, allowing aspiring social workers to apply for a spot on the intensive but rewarding 14-month training programme.

The programme is designed for graduates and career changers who wish to become child and family social workers, but do not have a degree in social work. Successful applicants will receive training through a combination of academic study and hands-on social work experience in a local authority.

The council hopes to attract individuals from diverse backgrounds with experience in working with vulnerable children, young people, families, or adults who can demonstrate emotional resilience and potential for success.

The Step Up programme, which is supported by a £25m investment from the Department for Education, will train 700 individuals to become social workers in local authorities across England in 2024.

The funding will provide support for training costs and a bursary of £19,833 over the duration of the programme. This will be the eighth cohort of Step Up since 2010, which has successfully supported over 2,300 social workers to enter the profession across England.

Applicants have until March 24 to apply, followed by regional assessment centers for successful candidates. The programme will start in January 2024, with trainees expected to complete their training by March 2025. To be eligible for the programme, candidates must hold a minimum 2:2 level 6 degree qualification and demonstrate significant experience working or volunteering with vulnerable individuals. They must also have GCSEs in English or English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, or the new grade 4 and above.

On successful completion of the programme, trainees will qualify with a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, enabling them to register with Social Work England and practice as a qualified social worker.