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Work Experience (prior to applying)

The degree course you are hoping to start with us is not only an honours degree, but also a professionally accredited course. 

Successful completion awards you with a ‘normal’ degree qualification and confers the ability to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to work as a Social Worker. 

This is an important distinction as it means that providers (e.g. Chichester University) have to adhere to certain professional rules and standards as set out by the HCPC.  One of the rules (and a very important one) is that applicants must have some previous experience.

So what are we looking for?

We are seeking applications from people who are able to demonstrate a real interest in social work as a career, grounded in work experience in social care.

Generally, to be accepted onto the course, we would be looking for candidates to have at least of 3 months recent (normally within the last two years) full-time/ full-time equivalent Social Work related work experience at the point of application to the course and a further 3 months at the point of entry to the course.

This can be gained in a paid or voluntary capacity and can include experience gained as part of a level 3 course.

Types of work which are relevant to social work

The work experience you have gained may be directly relevant to social work and/or partially relevant to social work. 

It is difficult to state categorically whether a particular type of experience is directly or partially relevant without knowing more about the agency setting and your role. However, the list below is intended as a guideline.

Directly relevant

Work, on a paid or a voluntary basis, in a role that involves social work skills including:

  • residential social work
  • day care
  • community work
  • counselling and advice work
  • youth work
  • being a foster carer
  • being a carer of a disabled or older person that has provided first-hand experience of social work or social services interventions
  • personal support of disabled or older people (not a family member)
  • mental health nursing or mental health care assistant work
  • support work in high support housing projects or hostels
  • mentoring of young people or others through a formal project or agency
  • group work with service users including self-help groups
  • working in a women’s refuge
  • advocacy work
  • employment as a social work assistant

Partially relevant

  • nursing home experience (work that does not involve one-to-one personal
  • care of individuals or key worker responsibilities e.g. health care assistant, auxiliary nurse)
  • teaching experience in ‘special needs’ work
  • housing advice work
  • play group/nursery/crèche work
  • play scheme work
  • general nursing/ nursing assistant work include district nursing
  • teaching

Service user experience

We welcome applications from people who have personal experience of being on the receiving end of social services or social work intervention.

We are interested in what you have learnt from this experience. In addition, you should have relevant and/or partially relevant work experience as outlined above.

You will see that administrative experience while useful and of value, for the purpose of entry into social work (at either BA or MA level), will not be counted.

We are looking for paid and/or unpaid work experience that is direct work with service users who are in need of emotional and/or practical support or help. 

Additionally, though this work is of value, for the purpose of entry to the Social Work program, we are unable to count: personal experience of caring for a relative or friend where you have not had first-hand experience of social services or social work intervention; baby-sitting; non-formal mentoring or support of younger school children, college or university students.