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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions for potential applicants (updated November 2018)


What is a degree apprenticeship?

A degree apprenticeship is a new and different way of studying for a degree in Social Work. As an apprentice, you will be employed throughout the duration of your apprenticeship, spending 80% of your time at work and the remaining 20% learning off the job. This could take place either at the University or undertaking training at your place of work, but not as part of your normal working duties.

Who can become an apprentice social worker?

In principle, anyone can apply for an apprenticeship as long as you have not already studied for a degree in Social Work; however, you do need to be employed by a Local Authority who has decided to offer apprenticeships, or you will have to apply for an apprenticeship with a different employer.

If I have a job with a local authority would I have to resign from my job to do it?

No, that’s one of the main advantages of an apprenticeship; your employer will be supporting you to gain the social work qualification, whilst remaining an employee of the Authority. You will continue to earn a salary, maintain your benefits package and annual leave entitlement.

What will it cost me to do a degree apprenticeship in social work?

Another advantage! Your employer is responsible for the cost of your apprenticeship training (which is paid through the Apprenticeship Levy), so there are no tuition fees. Study materials are provided, you will have access to a virtual learning environment with lots of supporting materials, as well as the University library. The cost of travelling to the University for your programme of study will be covered by your employer.

How will I fit in work and studying for a degree apprenticeship?

As an apprentice, the time spent studying for your degree (the 20% off the job) is included as part of your normal working hours. This includes time to complete your assessed work. The Social Work Degree Apprenticeship is delivered as a day release model, so you will spend on average one day a week at Warwick or a different location if you are registered on an off-site course.

How much extra time will I have to spend studying?

The course has been structured to ensure you do not have to spend any additional time studying, but it is up to you if you want to spend more time working towards your degree.

Help, I haven’t been to university before - how I will cope?

We have lots of experience of working with learners who have not been to University before or have been out of education for a long time. You will be invited to an induction day prior to the start of your course, where you will be introduced to the same support services enjoyed by a traditional student (to include study skills for e.g.), and you will be supported throughout the programme by your University Apprenticeship Tutor.

What if I take annual leave or I am off sick?

Your employer will offer you the same annual leave entitlement as you enjoy currently. All elements of the programme are mandatory; if you do miss a session due to holidays or illness, time can be made up, but absences over 4 weeks constitute a break in learning and the duration of the apprenticeship programme will need to be extended in consultation with your employer.

How long does the apprentice degree last for?

The Social Work Degree Apprenticeship is a three-year, full-time programme.

Will I stay in my work-place for three years?

Yes, you will stay with your current employer, but over the course of the apprenticeship you will be required to gain experience in a contrasting setting. This means working with service users with different needs and interests from the clients you usually work with and may take place within your current employer, or with a different Authority.

Who will I be working with?

This initiative is a collaboration between Local Authority partners and the University of Warwick. The University will be delivering the academic training (where you will study alongside people from the other councils), and your employer will be providing you with ongoing, on-the-job training opportunities.

Who will be supporting me?

You will be fully supported throughout the course, by your line manager, a University Apprenticeship Tutor and a Practice Educator. You will have meetings with your Practice Educator each month and a more formal progress review on a quarterly basis with your line manager, Practice Educator and Apprenticeship Tutor.

How will I be assessed?

You will undertake a range of assessments, including assignments, direct observations in practice, portfolio items and timed assessments. You will be given study time before each assessment to prepare.

What happens if I fail an assignment?

If you fail an assessed piece of work, you will have the opportunity to do it again. At the end of each year, you will have an Annual Review with your line manager, Apprenticeship Tutor and Practice Educator to ensure you have met the required learning outcomes to progress to the next stage of the apprenticeship.

How do I apply?

Please speak to your line manager in the first instance. It a competitive process and you will have to undergo a two stage selection process to secure a place on the degree apprenticeship programme.

What are the advantages for me?

There may be real advantages to you, particularly if other routes to a social work qualification are not possible for you. This is potentially the opportunity to gain a social work qualification, keep your job and wage, and have no student fees to pay whatsoever.

Are there any other conditions I need to meet?

You will require an updated, enhanced DBS check (paid for and arranged by your employer) and evidence of suitability for social work training, to include an Occupational Health review, before a formal, unconditional offer of a place on the programme can be made.

What are the advantages for me?

The Degree Apprenticeship offers an alternative route to gaining a social work degree. It enables you to continue to work, earn a salary and is a debt-free route to academic study. Successful completion of your degree apprenticeship means that you are eligible to apply for registration as a Social Worker in England.