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Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship

Boost your social work career and combine academic learning with on-the-job training

Boost your social work career and combine academic learning with on-the-job training

Graduate with a BA (Hons) Social Work degree

3 years
Bishop Otter Campus (Chichester)


On this three year Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship, you will work for four days per week with your employer and attend university for the remaining weekday.

When you complete the course, you will be eligible to apply for registration with Social Work England.

This degree apprenticeship will prepare you for employment as a newly qualified registered social worker. You will develop skills in strengths-based working, resilience and self-care as you engage with theory and current debates about contemporary social work practice.

You will explore the underlying concepts, principles, methodologies and skills used in professional social work practice. This course is an opportunity to critically reflect upon your values, and to feel confident in discussing uncertainties and dilemmas.

This course develops the knowledge, skills and behaviours you need to meet the Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship and Social Work England’s Professional Standards.

This course is developed in partnership with employers.


This course is approved by Social Work England.

Social Work England logo

Teaching and Assessment

How you will learn

You will attend university for one day per week and attend your workplace for the other four weekdays. You will attend classes including lectures, seminars, practical workshops, small group discussions and web-based learning. You will work collaboratively with other students on the course and undertake individual learning activities.

End Point Assessment: Final Apprenticeship Portfolio

The End-Point Assessment (EPA) is the final assessment on this course. You will complete a ‘gateway’ process and be signed off to complete the final assessment of your apprenticeship. Your employer must agree that you are eligible to enter EPA.

You must meet the following criteria before taking the EPA:

  • achieved a minimum level 2 English and Math’s as per the standard and general apprenticeship requirements
  • be able to communicate at Level 7 of the International English Language Testing System (with no element below 6.5) – Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Proficiency 8.8
  • successfully completed assessed work experience in at least two contrasting settings, one with a focus on statutory work
  • obtained 300 academic credits of the Social Worker degree, 120 at level 4, 120 at level 5 and 60 at level 6 with a provisional grade

You will be recommended for EPA when they are ready. Employers should have a remediation process in place to support any apprentice who fails to meet the eligibility criteria to enter EPA.

The Course

What you will study

You will study a range of modules during your course. You will be taught at Chichester campus and complete two placements during the degree.


This list is indicative and subject to change.

Select a year

Introduction to Social Work

This module aims to introduce you to social work roles, tasks and settings. There will be opportunities to provide you with a grounding in the historical and social context of social work practice, which will enable you to understand a framework of theories, values, ethics and research mindedness as a foundation for good practice and study throughout the course.

This module will also help to develop your ability to think critically and reflectively.

Child and Adult Development Across the Life Course 1

This module provides you with an introduction to core theories of human development including attachment, loss, emerging identity, and sexuality as they impact children and adolescents.

Characteristics of relative inequality are considered through diverse perspectives, for example, the importance of culture and the environment, diversity, intersectionality, and poverty.

Throughout the module students are encouraged to link development with environment, privilege, and culture.


Intervention, Theories and Skills 1 – Diversity and Difference

This core module runs throughout the three years, linking to all other modules. Each year has an overarching theme and in year one this is identity, diversity, and difference.

The module is fundamental in helping you form a professional identity, maintain boundaries, understand your own place within groups and teams and question the core tenets of social work, including reflective and critical thinking.

You will also be encouraged to link your learning to social work theory and practice.

Social Work Law and Policy

The overall aim of this module is to introduce you to the legal and policy frameworks which underpin professional social work practice.

The module will outline the relationship and key differences between legislation and policy. It will help you appreciate the differing ideological approaches to social policy and how these may find expression in welfare practice and its underlying legal frameworks.

You will also gain knowledge of the law relevant to your particular or intended area of practice. It seeks to explore primary, secondary and tertiary legislation, case law and social policy which has relevance to social welfare.

You will be equipped with a critical understanding of how to apply legislation, case law and policy in practice. After completing this module you should be able to make the link between legal and policy frameworks, anti-oppressive practice and social justice.

Intervention, Theories and Skills 2 – Justice and Wellbeing

This module offers a particular focus on wellbeing and social justice and builds on the learning from ITS1 in semester one.

You will explore what constitutes effective practice with individuals who have been marginalised or excluded through mental health, disability, age, poverty.

The module will include discussions of anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory values in social work; social work ethics; radical theories of social work; psychodynamic theories and social work; systems theories/ecological approaches and you will benefit from co-production with experts by experience as part of the simulations used within the module.

During this part of the module, you will be asked to select and report on a small piece of ‘social justice’ intervention, that will make a difference in some way, however small, to an individual, organisation or to the way society constructs certain groups.

Child and Adult Development Across the Life Course 2

This module builds on the learning from semester one and focuses on the impact of early experience on early, middle, and late adulthood. Topics such as housing and the environment are considered alongside significant life events like divorce and separation, culminating in illness and finally death.

As in semester one, you will be encouraged to reflect on the links between early development and outcomes across the life course. Social constructions such as mid-life crisis are considered alongside significant influences such as race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and trauma.

Intervention, Theories and Skills 3 – Positive Interventions

This module builds on the learning from other ITS modules and continues to provide foundational personal and professional development throughout the second and third years of the programme.

The module will link to the safeguarding module and will focus on the topic of ‘positive interventions’ discussing notions of independence, self-determination, ‘care’ and the limits of personal autonomy. Risk will be explored in the context of positive, empowering practice. There will be a specific focus on work with children and adults who are disabled those with mental health diagnoses, older people and parents/carers. Both this module and the safeguarding module will be supported by a number of skills days.


Safeguarding with Children and Adults

The module will prepare you to recognise signs of abuse of children, young people and adults and respond to this appropriately. It will familiarise you with the relevant legislation, policies and procedures in relation to domestic abuse and safeguarding children and adults.

The module will consider safeguarding adults, child protection and domestic abuse as inter-related rather than in isolation. The notion of safeguarding children will be examined within a context of need and risk.

The significance of capacity will be explored in relation to the abuse of adults. Anti-oppressive practice in relation to people who have been abused will be a theme which runs throughout the course.You will also explore issues of disclosure and confidentiality, the use of supervision, multi-disciplinary working and appropriate referral processes.

Ethics, Values and Dilemmas

This module focuses on the key role of values and ethics in understanding the purpose of social work interventions. Social work tasks and responsibilities require understanding of complex situations where the appropriate course of action may not be immediately evident or where there may be conflicting perspectives.

This module will enable you to develop evidence-based knowledge of the multi-faceted factors likely to impact on individual interpretation and understanding of dilemmas and conflicts in social work practice. Consequently, the module will explore how unconscious bias, discrimination, stress, and the psychology of decision-making impact on appraisal of situations and professional judgement.

The module will also help to develop awareness of the impact of your identity and experience on colleagues, teams and the wider organisation Theoretical perspectives will support your understanding of the nature, scope and purpose of social work in relation to social justice, human rights and professional ethics and values. A particular focus will be on supporting you to evaluate situations of complexity and ambiguity where there are conflicting perspectives.

Evidence Informed Approaches to Practice

Starting with the question, ‘how do we know this is true?’ the module focuses on the concept of evidence-informed practice through the development of research-mindedness.

The application of qualitative, quantitative, statistical, and mixed methods to understanding social work practice will be explored. In addition, research approaches such as thematic analysis, ethnography, evaluation, and grounded theory will be discussed.

Similarly, students will be introduced to the principles of research design and research instruments as well as data collection and analysis. The aim is to enable students to critically evaluate evidence claims, be able to confidently deploy research in their own work and understand and implement a methodical approach to research-informed practice. This will include the ability to discuss what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad‘ research evidence and how to tell the difference.

Intervention, Theories and Skills 4 – The Developing Professional

The module is delivered in parallel to your practice placement. It is designed to support and integrate with the Assessed Practice 1. The overarching aim of the module is to support the development of professionalism and professional effectiveness.

The module will return to the theme first introduced in year one, working in groups and teams. In year two there is a focus on effective work within the professional team, and working in a multi-disciplinary and/or interprofessional context.

Similarly, as throughout the programme, the module will incorporate the perspectives of people with lived experience about what constitutes good practice. Through the exploration of themes as diverse as recording and report writing, communication skills, professional assertion and relationship building and boundaries, the module recognises that professionals develop holistically not as a collection of disaggregated skills, knowledge and behaviours

Assessed Practice 1

You will be required to demonstrate your ability to work within the Professional Capabilities Framework.

There will be a range of activities to help you develop skills in critical reflection in relation to your social work practice and be able to apply appropriate social work skills and methods in practice.

You will be supported to demonstrate skills in synthesising information and reflecting critically on social work knowledge.

Assessed Practice 2

At the point of qualification, you are expected to have developed analytical techniques and problem-solving skills and to be able to demonstrate personal responsibility and decision making in complex and unpredictable professional situations.

Intervention, Theories and Skills 5 – Working with Complexity and Risk

As a registered Social Worker, you will need to understand and evaluate complex situations, where nothing may be as it first appears and what you are told may be limited or misleading. This module will enable you to develop your skills in using observation and explore the multi-faceted factors that impact our understanding, interpretation and analysis of information, including that from non-verbal, verbal and written sources.

You will also develop your awareness of the impact of your identity and experience, and the sense that you make of the situations that you are working in. It will also help you develop your ability to use theory to inform your analysis and decision-making processes and address the relevant Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) practice requirements and the threshold requirements for entry into social work.

End Point Assessment

The end-point assessment plan (EPA) accompanies the Social Worker level 6 Degree Apprenticeship standard. This module will meet the standards which incorporate on-programme academic and workplace learning and assessment with an independent EPA to test the knowledge, skills and behaviours detailed in the standard.

Skills Day Programme

This runs at all levels of the course and intersects with the other taught modules and assessed practice placements.


Course Costs

Your employer will pay your tuition fees to the University so you will graduate without tuition fee debt. 

As an employee you will receive your salary from your employer and be eligible for employee benefits while you study. You will not be eligible for a student loan.

To find out about any additional costs on this course, please see our Additional Costs page.

Course specific costs

You will be required to have a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check costing £40 which needs to be paid for before the start of the course.

Entry Requirements

Degree apprentices are recruited directly by employers or are already employed by the company.

To be eligible for the course you will need any of the following:

A Levels
C or above
3 A Levels
BTEC Vocational Qualifications
Level 3
Relevant work social work or social care experience

Applicants will be required to produce certificates for all qualifications. If you have no formal qualifications you will be set ‘non-standard’ entry tasks.

  • A satisfactory occupational health assessment is required.
  • You will be required to have a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check.


Frequently asked questions

How do I apply?

You need to apply directly to an employer for a degree apprenticeship, unlike traditional degree programmes.

You will be employed in a full time role while studying in partnership with the University of Chichester.

Any other questions

If you have any other questions please contact apprenticeships@chi.ac.uk.

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