Careers advice and articles
- Prospects: Social care
- TARGETjobs: Public service, charity and social work
- The Guardian on social care (March 2014) and probation officers (October 2009)
- Social Care.co.uk - social care careers tips and advice
- Social Care Online - database of information and research on all aspects of social care and social work
- Communitycare.co.uk – social work news and jobs
Guardian: Social Care Network provides insight for social workers and social care professionals.
Children & Young People Now is a magazine for professionals working with children, young people and families.
There is also The Therapeutic Care Journal.
AGCAS: Journey to work (DVD) covers researching social work and gaining relevant work experience.
Sector skills councils
Government departments and public bodies
- Justice - links to government organisations working within the criminal justice system. Includes a guide to Jobs in Probation
- National Probation Service
- Youth Justice Board for England and Wales
- Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI)
- Health and Social Care Information Centre
- Schools, colleges and children's services
Care councils and regulatory bodies
- Care Quality Commission - advice and information on social care and healthcare services
- Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- Care Council for Wales
- Northern Ireland Social Care Council
- Scottish Social Services Council includes choosing a career in social services
Making contacts will help you gain insight into roles and arrange work experience. You could start with:
- Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
- social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter - useful for making contacts and finding opportunities
- Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice
Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and other events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.
You may also be interested in:
Roles & Skills
The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.
Social work assistant
Youth offending team officer
Roles within social care are diverse and wide-ranging. For links to a number of relevant job profiles, visit the National Careers Service's Job Profiles: Social services.
Paid or voluntary work experience in a related role is highly recommended and often essential for roles in this sector.
Most routes into social work require experience working with children and young people, families or vulnerable groups.
There are three graduate development programmes where social work experience is not essential. These programmes are more interested in personal attributes:
- Step Up to Social Work
- Frontline - also offers insight day and 3 week internships for undergraduates
- Think Ahead
However, experience in a social work setting is essential to get onto a postgraduate social work course.
Opportunities to get experience
You could look for part-time work as a social work assistant or youth worker.
Some local authority social services departments have opportunities for shadowing a social worker.
Community Care has an article on the best approach to arranging work shadowing opportunities
Private care services
Newcastle City Council list social care providers in their adult care services directory.
Working with young people
You could try to get work in an adventure playground group, school or holiday play schemes, or youth project.
Your local council will have details of these, eg Newcastle Support Directory.
You could also look for opportunities to gain experience in:
- children’s homes
- family refuge centres, eg Refuge and Women's Aid
- community centres
- mental health services such as those listed on Rethink Mental Illness
You may also want to look at the Gaining Experience tab on our Community, Advice and Guidance page.
See below for volunteering opportunities.
To work in probation you will need experience of working with challenging behaviour.
Opportunities to get experience
National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC)
See Gov.UK Probation directory for a region-based list
Become a prison visitor
Find out about becoming an official prison visitor.
You could contact local prisons and young offender institutes about work shadowing or volunteering opportunities. See Justice.gov.uk to search for prisons by region.
You could also look at getting involved with:
You may also want to look at the gaining experience section on our Community, Advice and Guidance page for information on youth work.
Go Volunteer in the Students’ Union can help you find a relevant volunteering opportunity within Newcastle. They have links to a wide variety of local charities and not-for-profit organisations.
There are many charities working in this sector. You can apply for advertised opportunities or contact them to see if they need more support.
Use the Charity Commission register to search for relevant charities.
When choosing a volunteering opportunity, consider the environment you will be working in. Also consider the people you will be working with and the skills you will be able to develop.
For example, volunteering with organisations such as Citizens Advice can help you build on essential advice giving skills.
There are a variety of ways to secure a social work and probation role.
Step Up to Social Work is a 14-month training programme for graduates and career changers. The programme offers a bursary and leads to a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work.
Frontline is a two-year leadership programme for high-achieving graduates and career changers keen on children’s social care. The programme offers a bursary and leads to a full Master's qualification.
Think Ahead is a two-year leadership programme for graduates who want to work as mental health social workers. The programme offers a bursary and leads to a full Master's qualification.
Public sector and healthcare vacancy sites
- LG Jobs
- Health and social care in Northern Ireland - includes links to health and social care trusts.
Newspaper and magazines
Study & Training
Further study is essential for some roles in this sector.
Entry to the profession is normally via an undergraduate or masters degree approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Both options combine professional and academic training with assessed placements. They qualify the holder to work in both children and adult services.
Applications for almost all postgraduate courses in social work come through UCAS. But always check with the institution for details of how to apply.
Funding further study in social work
Bursaries are available to support those studying postgraduate courses in social work. These are for those who aren't being sponsored by an employer.
There are certain criteria you need to meet to qualify for the funding. The amount you get also depends on:
- where you study
- whether you study full or part-time
- the cost of your tuition
Some courses are offered part-time, so it may be possible to qualify while continuing to work.
For more information, visit Gov.uk: social work bursaries.