Your social work career

Getting into social work

There are many routes into a rewarding and fulfilling career in social work. At Southampton City Council we work closely with our nearby universities, such as University of Winchester and Solent University, helping students to gain valuable insight into what social work entails and supporting them to turn their aspirations into reality.

Working with the University of Winchester, we invite applications from experienced members of staff to join our social worker degree programme. Apprentices work within their teams but also undertake placements in other services to gain greater knowledge and experience. On successful completion they are awarded a Degree in Social Work, apply for a social work post and join our making the Difference Graduate Programme where they complete the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) in their first year.

We also work in partnership with the South Coast Partnership Step Up to Social Work and Frontline programmes. Graduates wishing to train in social work apply directly to these programmes and receive a bursary whilst studying. Southampton City Council provides the placements and ongoing support to help them achieve this aspiration. On successful completion they gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, are guaranteed an interview for social work vacancies and join our Graduate Programme. Participants on the Frontline programme also have the opportunity to achieve a Master’s degree in Year 2.

Assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE)

As a Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) you will enter our brilliant two year Making the Difference Graduate Programme at Southampton City Council.

NQSWs are placed within our teams and benefit from all that being in a team can bring, for example using our reflecting teams’ model from systemic practice, shadowing more experienced colleagues, sharing that sense of shared professional identity and purpose.

Career progression and Senior Social Workers

In Children and Learning at Southampton City Council we have clear pathways for those wishing to progress their careers in differing directions. We have a thriving programme for those wishing to train as social workers including our apprenticeship scheme and opportunities across Step Up to Social Work, Frontline and the many students’ placements that we offer year after year. We have a reputation for offering outstanding student induction and support and high-quality learning opportunities. The students that study with us, want to work with us following qualification.

We understand that Social Workers may wish to develop their careers in differing ways. We support those who wish to progress to enabling others with a Practice Educator Professional Development Club which is facilitated by Siobhan Maclean, a national lead in education in Social Work. We also provide sessions led by the Principal Social Worker and ensure that you have all the tools and kit you need to make an outstanding job of educating others which feels both achievable and rewarding. Excelling in the area of practice education, or indeed developing any area of practice specialism, could enable you to progress and achieve Senior Social Worker Status.

Progression to Senior Social Worker requires the development of a very brief portfolio and a reflective discussion.

Applying to us directly as a Senior Social Worker

You may of course apply to join us directly as a Senior Social Worker. This is a grade 10 post with a starting salary of £42,503 – £46,549. If you are not Practice Educator qualified, this will not prevent you from applying to us as a Senior Social Worker as we will support you with the relevant training and development opportunities.

Senior Social Workers remain in practice assisting their colleagues and teams by sharing knowledge and practice skills from their particular area of specialism. Our Senior Social Workers take a lead role in modelling excellent relational practice and support others in their own teams with developing their knowledge base and skills.

If you decide that management is the direction for you, we offer the Pathways Programme and our own excellent leadership and management corporate offer, which includes a mentoring programme for new managers.

The focus always is to maintain our culture of learning which benefits not only our practitioners, but also the children and families that we have the privilege of working with.

See our latest vacancies

Returning to social work?

If you are an experienced children's social worker but you have been out of practice for a while, we would love to be part of your return to our profession. Please get in touch with Karen Biddle, Principal Social Worker:


Telephone: 07920 478 669