Before being registered as a social worker, you will need to demonstrate that you have achieved appropriate standards of practice and expertise in an accredited or ‘qualifying’ programme.
Our degree prepares you for this through a curriculum carefully aligned with the Professional Capabilities Framework, which outlines key skills and paths of development for social workers. In order to build up your experience, as well as knowledge, you will have two placements – 70 days in your second year of study, and 100 days in your third year of study. By experiencing what it is like to work in contrasting settings, you will come out with a better understanding of social care in diverse sectors, and where you would like to work in the future.
Often students’ first placement is in the private, voluntary or independent sector with an organisation such as Barnardo’s, My Positive Future, or Age Concern. We give you plenty of support in preparing for your placement and visit you whilst you are there in order to see how things are going. In addition, you will be supported by qualified social work practitioners who have undertaken additional training to become practice educators. During your placement, you also have a chance to return to campus for three skill development days where you can share experiences with tutors and other students.
Then in your second placement, you may have the opportunity to work in a statutory setting, where you can learn more about the legal context of social work. As placements are across a large geographical area, you may have to travel relatively long distances or find accommodation nearby in order to complete them. Some support is available for travel costs. Where possible, we try to match your placement to your interests – whether they are in youth offending, children and families intervention, mental health and safeguarding adults, or another area of social work. Again on this placement, you will have ample support from our placements team.
In the past, we have had close dialogues between university staff and social care employers and received feedback that our degree is well-matched with employers’ priorities and is seen as being of high quality. This is among the reasons that our students have excellent employment rates – with 90% employed soon after graduating (CUG 2019).