A trailblazing team of apprentices has arrived at the University of Warwick’s Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) to take their first steps towards gaining a degree in Social Work.
The University of Warwick is one of the first UK universities to offer a Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship - a three-year, practice-based route into qualified social work that pays trainees a wage and combines learning on the job with high quality off-the-job study. Graduates of the course will hold a BA (Hons) Social Work degree and be eligible to register and practise as Social Workers.
The first cohort of students has come from a range of local authorities including Leicestershire, Gloucestershire, and Worcestershire, and from the charity sector. They work in a range of roles from Community Support Worker to Family Support facilitator and share a passion to upskill themselves, progress in their careers and continue to support others.
Designed from the ground up to meet the needs of employers, apprentices and service users, and the professional requirements for validation by the Health and Care Professions Council, this unique course provides a new route into the profession for experienced care staff.
Welcoming the first cohort of learners, CLL Director Dr Anne Hollinshead, said: “We are delighted to be one of the first University departments to offer a Degree Apprenticeship in Social Work.
"Graduates of the course will hold a BA (Hons) Social Work degree from Warwick: this is a different way of learning, not a different qualification.
“We hope this new approach to learning will appeal to highly experienced but unqualified staff within local authorities, offering an accessible route into professional training and closing the skills gap.
“For employers, choosing Warwick as their Degree Apprenticeship provider means they can rely on CLL’s extensive experience not only of teaching social work but also of supporting returners to learning.”
Heather Pick, assistant director of adults and communities at Leicestershire County Council, said: “I’m pleased that we are working with Warwick University to launch our first social care apprenticeship programme.
“The University is leading the way by offering Degree Apprenticeships and our staff will develop the skills needed to work in a social care environment, which will ultimately benefit those of all ages in need across Leicestershire.
“There’s a high demand for staff due to an ever-growing population and we will continue to develop and expand our apprenticeship scheme and offer and provide continued learning opportunities following our apprentices' graduation."
Degree Apprenticeships are a central part of the University’s new Education Strategy. The University works in partnership with employers to develop sector-leading programmes that not only help to bridge skills gaps, but also equip apprentices with the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed in their careers.
Dr Sam Hardy, Head of Degree Apprenticeships for the University of Warwick, said: "At Warwick we believe that provision of world class higher education shouldn't stand still but should adapt to meet the changing needs of students and employers.
“We are working closely with employers to remove barriers to entry and provide tailored support to apprentices throughout their time at Warwick so that access to higher education is not limited by a person's background.”
Dr Hollinshead added: “CLL’s purpose is to find different ways of opening up the University, its knowledge and learning opportunities to wider audiences. We are proud to be able to deliver professionally-related Degree Apprenticeships, which will enable individuals to realise their potential.”
27 March 2019
Media Relations Manager
Faculty of Social Science