You are here

Social Work: The Future’s Bright


Social work is a challenging and exciting career choice. Also the social care sector is currently taking a huge step forward, embracing improvements in standards and developing greater professionalism amongst the workforce. Could social work be the career for you?
What do social workers do?

Social workers form relationships with people and help determine what care needs they have through assessment processes and then with the service user identifies the care package that will help meet these assessed needs. As adviser, advocate, counsellor or listener, a social worker helps people to live more successfully within their local communities by helping them find solutions to their own problems. Social workers act as navigators of care services providing signposts for service users to help them access the services and assistance they need.

Social work also involves engaging not only with service users themselves but their carers, families and friends as well as working closely with other organisations including the police, NHS, Primary Care Trusts and Children’s Trusts, schools, the probation service and housing associations.

Who can study to become a social worker?

Universities are looking for people who have:

·    some knowledge and understanding of social care

·    listening, assessing and  communication skills. 

·    a non-judgmental attitude and awareness of diversity and difference 

·    the ability to study at higher education level

Many different people are being encouraged to become social workers. Access and support systems are well established to meet the study needs of students from diverse backgrounds, including disabled people, those with dyslexia, mature students and those from different racial and cultural backgrounds.

In order to become a social worker you must now study for the new degree in social work which takes three years full-time. The degree is designed to attract applicants of all ages and to particularly increase the number of school leavers training for the profession

Admission Criteria

If you are under 21 you will require two A levels or equivalent to join a degree course as well as GSCE English and math’s- at grade C, or equivalent. If you are over this age, relevant experience may be taken into account in place of qualifications. 

What financial support do I get?

The GSCC administers bursaries on behalf of the Department of Health to support English social work students throughout their studies. There are bursaries available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, provided they meet residency requirements and other criteria. The bursaries are worth around £3,000 for each year of study, up to the point of qualification, and tuition fees may also be paid. Social work bursary application forms and guidance booklets are available through universities and colleges or by calling our bursaries line below.

So if I am interested in training to become a social worker, what do I do next?

·    Make sure that you have the required academic qualifications listed above.  If not contact your local FE college to see how they can help you to achieve these.

·    If you meet the requirements and want to apply, look at the social work careers web site listed at the end of this article for more details about courses offered and contact relevant universities for more information. Contact UCAS for application details.

·    Read articles, magazines and books about social work and talk to people who already work in the area. 

The future is bright

Those working in social care have an opportunity to make sure that the people who are using care services really are at the heart of what social care is about and that the public can have confidence in the services they receive.

So if you want a rewarding and challenging job that makes a difference to people’s lives there has never been a better time to enter social work.

For lots more information visit

Subject Based: 
Educational Level: 
Student Advice: 

online magazines