To become a children’s social worker, you will need to gain a degree qualification which is recognised by Social Work England. There are 3 main ways to do this -

  • studying an undergraduate or postgraduate course at a university
  • completing a fast-track postgraduate course, like Step Up to Social Work
  • completing a Degree Apprenticeship through the Local Authority

The alternative route is if you wish to return to social work and your registration with Social Work England has expired.

Route plan infographic

Studying social work at University

The most common way to gain a social work degree is through a course at a university.

You can apply to complete an undergraduate social work course, for example, a BA in Social Work, if you meet their entry requirements regarding A-levels and GCSEs.

If you have completed an undergraduate degree, which does not necessarily need to be in social work, you may be eligible to apply for a postgraduate course such as a masters degree (MA) in Social Work.

Social work degree programmes require students to have social work placements as part of the course.

This means you will develop hands on experience to put your academic learning into practice.

We are a proud placement provider, and when students come on placement with us, we ensure they have a rich learning environment that will include direct work with children and families, excellent training opportunities and monthly tailored practice development sessions to prepare all students for the children’s workforce once they qualify.

Fast-track social work courses

One of the quickest ways to become a children’s social worker is through a fast-track postgraduate course, such as Step Up to Social Work.

You may be eligible if you already have a degree that isn’t related to social work.

These have some advantages over a typical social work postgraduate course, as they are fully funded and offer a bursary to students to support them whilst they are studying.

We are a proud placement provider for Step Up students in the Yorkshire and Humberside region.

We feel strongly about developing our workforce and giving people the opportunity to develop into children’s social workers through this unique opportunity.

Many of the step-up students who have trained in Hull have now become members of our workforce.

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Fast-track places are limited. To apply to Step Up to Social Work, you’ll need to meet the academic entry requirements and show some experience working or volunteering with children and families.

Social Work Degree Apprenticeships

The third way to gain a social work degree is by completing an apprenticeship through an employer. This allows you to earn a degree without having to take time out to study.

You won’t have to pay tuition fees, and you’ll be paid by your employer for the work you do. The course is delivered over 3 years and includes 2 social work placements outside the role you are employed to do.A group of people around a table watching a presentation

Hull have just recruited their third cohort of apprentices. You can request to be part of our mailing list and will be emailed when apprenticeship opportunities are available.

Further information about the different types of routes into social work can be found on the Children’s Social Work Matters website

Return to Social Work

Returning to social work is a pathway for social workers who want to return to social work practice in England.

The requirements for Social Work England stipulate that anyone who has left the profession needs to evidence they have kept their skills, knowledge and experience up to date.

You can apply for restoration with Social Work England if you were previously registered with Social Work England or the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

If you left the register between 2 and 5 years ago, you’ll need to show that you have spent at least 30 days updating your skills, knowledge, and experience.

If you left the register more than 5 years ago, you’ll need to show that you have spent at least 60 days updating your skills, knowledge, and experience.

We welcome all social workers to make enquiries with us as we wish to support practitioners to restore their registration so they can come and join our workforce.

Each application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but we offer opportunities for supervised practice that will allow you to evidence the requirements set by Social Work England.

Email us for more information at and we can arrange for you to come to the social work academy for an informal discussion.

Further information can be found here about our current jobs and careers