Social Work Degree Apprenticeship

Introduction to the Apprenticeship

Our Social Work Degree Apprenticeship aims to prepare graduates for working as qualified social workers in a varied, complex, and challenging profession with individuals, families, and communities across all fields of social work and in all social work settings. 

The School of Health and Social Care works with employers to provide employees with the opportunity to study for an undergraduate Social Work degree through an apprenticeship route. Funded by the Government and your employer, the apprenticeship combines work-based learning and education for social work, which upon successful completion leads to a degree and professional recognition, enabling you to apply to register as a social worker with Social Work England.

Benefits to Employers

The programme is suitable for new and existing social care staff who are responsible for delivering direct services and who have the potential to take on greater challenges and responsibility as qualified social workers.

 The programme aims to enable employers to:

  • Select, train and develop their workforce according to an employer-defined standard
  • Work in partnership with an educational provider with extensive experience in working with employers to deliver a flexible, practice-based qualifying social work degree
  • Increase staff retention by offering career progression
  • Maximise the apprenticeship levy and embed apprenticeships in workforce planning and service transformation.

How You Study

The Social Work Degree Apprenticeship is a three-year (36 months/45 week working year) practice-based programme combining learning and development through academic study and through practice through the workplace and alternative practice placements. The programme aims to develop your awareness of the knowledge, theories, skills, and values for professional practice as a social worker and applying professional skills and knowledge within a work-based context.

Apprentices learn through:

  • day release for direct University study and distance learning
  • work-based learning and placements
  • a protected study day with some of these formally timetabled for workshops, conferences, placement support ‘recall’ days, and interprofessional learning events at the University
  • one-to-one personal and professional development
  • skills development sessions
  • critical and written assessments, including written assignment, presentations, case studies and projects, and practice-based portfolio.

Students study one day a week at the University with one protected learning day and three practice days per week. 

  • On the one day a week at the university, students can study through applied, blended learning and a range of assessment methods
  • The protected learning time can take place in the university, work or placement to provide additional support for the apprentice's learning. As detailed above, some of these days are formally timetabled  but some are untimetabled and can be used proactively by the student to meet their identified and agreed learning needs through activities such as insight days (for example giving student the opportunity to explore the work of other professionals, managers and senior manager) and shadowing (with a qualified social worker), additional training, research and personal study. This time will also be used for Progress Reviews
  • Practice days are to be spent by carrying out supervised social work practice either in the students main place of work or in a complementary setting to give apprentices a broader experience of social work. 

Year One

Social Work: Developing Self

  • Ten day full-time induction to the programme.
  • Professional Social Work Practice
  • Knowledge, Theories and Skills for Social Work
  • Practice Placement (135 days in main place of work)

Year Two

Social Work: Developing Others

  • Working with Adults
  • Working with Children and Families
  • Practice Placement (95 days in main place of work and 40 days in a complementary setting) 

Year Three

Social Work: Developing Leadership

  • Being a Social Worker
  • Evidence and Improvement
  • Practice Placement
  • Assessment (85 days in main place of work and 50 days in a complementary setting)


Students are supported in their learning and development by a range of people with expertise in social work, including a teaching team who have extensive experience as academics and of working in social work agencies and practice settings as senior worker. A range of other support includes a dedicated placement team, to support placements; service users, carers and other professionals to share their experiences and expertise; a dedicated Subject Librarian; Student Support and Wellbeing Service, for access to services and information. In addition, students are supported by: 

  • a university tutor who will act as your personal tutor ensuring consistency in academic and practice learning support throughout the programme
  • A workplace supervisor/practice educator (based in the Apprentice’s Hub), who works in conjunction with your university tutor to make decisions on practice assessment through joint face-to-face meetings and student supervision. They also provide learning and teaching in the workplace to support students and share information, leading to the completion of each students e-portfolio, and the completion of a report and recommendation. During complementary placements a supervisor will be identified to work with the university tutor

Fees and Funding


If you wish to undertake this degree you will need an employer who can support your application as the course can be funded through government co-funding or the apprenticeship levy.


LevelDurationProgrammeBand Maximum /Charge
6 3 years Degree Apprenticeship - underpinned by BSc (Hons) £24,000

If you are an organisation with a wage bill of £3 million pounds or more you will pay a small levy on any amount above that level. You can use that resulting funds to pay 100% of the course fees for any degree apprenticeships.

From April 2019 for new apprentices starting a programme non-levy paying employers will share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with government - this is called ‘co-investment’. You will now pay 5% towards the cost of apprenticeship training. The government will pay the rest (95%) up to the funding band maximum. If you are an employer with less than 50 employees and the Apprentice has been in the care of the local authority, meeting certain criteria, and/or has an Educational and Health Plan, you may be eligible for full costs. 

Entry Requirements

The programme is suitable for new and existing social care staff, who are responsible for delivering direct services and who have the potential to take on greater challenges and responsibility as qualified social workers. Candidates have to be employed over 30 hours a week in a relevant job role. 

Applicants need their employer to agree to fund the course, either through government co-funding or the apprenticeship levy. Applicants also need to demonstrate their ability to study academic subjects at degree level, debate topics and issues, study independently as well as a member of a group, and successfully complete a range of assignments including researched essays and practical tests.

Applicants must also have the right to live and work in the UK and at least 50% of their normal working hours must be in England.

They will need Maths and English Level 2, one year of direct experience in social care, and a driving licence.

Contact Us



T: 01522 882000