Today (17 March) is World Social Work Day, a day to raise awareness of social work as a career path and recognise the incredible contribution that this sector make to our community.
The Open University has a range of courses available to support and train social workers, including the Social Work Degree (SWD) Apprenticeship, which is the latest addition to the OU’s offering.
Approved by Social Work England and based on over 20 years’ successful experience training over 6,000 social workers, the SWD Apprenticeship is a practice-based programme that combines on and off-the-job learning and development.
Preparation for roles within social care
Delivered flexibly around the demands of the workplace, apprentices gain practical and theoretical skills that prepare them for the range of roles within social care delivery. On completion of the three and half year course, graduates are fully qualified to apply for registration to become a social worker.
City of York Council is one of the partner employers that the OU works with to deliver the SWD apprenticeship to their staff. Louise a current apprentice on the scheme, began working for the council 12 years ago in an administrative role and then moved into the adult social care team. She wanted to become a social worker for a long time and the apprenticeship route provided the opportunity to realise that dream. She said:
“Unfortunately, I’ve not been in a position to stop working and afford the fees of going to university. It’s given me a great opportunity to carry on working and be supported through the organisation.
“Although it can be overwhelming to start with, the OU takes you quite slowly through the process, which is reassuring. It’s also been great to talk to other people who are on the course and hear about how they’re experiencing similar issues in the care industry. There’s several of us going through the same thing at the same time.”
Claire, another apprentice from City of York Council, who has worked within children’s social care for almost 17 years, tells a similar story:
“An OU apprenticeship is a perfect fit, as it allows me to continue working on a full-time basis. The flexibility of study enables me to continue with commitments outside of work with my home and family.”
The flexible nature of the apprenticeship makes it easier to fit learning around work and personal commitments. As with all apprenticeships, the apprentices take 20% of time out of their roles each week to concentrate on learning, which is tailored to individual, departmental and organisational needs and is fed back into the apprentice’s existing role.
The apprenticeship route, allows employers to use their levy funding to develop new and existing staff to achieve this qualification. For employers, it provides the opportunity to develop and retrain staff, as well as attract new talent.
Find out more
About other study routes into Social Work at the OU