New social workers step up for Somerset

Children’s Social Work in Somerset and the rest of the South West is due for a boost, with 26 new trainee social workers on the way.

Somerset County Council is leading a consortium of south west local authorities in the government’s Step Up to Social Work programme. The consortium secured funding for 26 trainee social workers, which includes eight for Somerset, and last week the new trainees met each other, and their prospective employers, for the first time.

One of the new trainees, said: “It was a really good session; all very exciting and motivating. We all said that we feel we are being given a fantastic opportunity and can’t wait to get started.”

The 26 trainees will begin their academic and work-based training in January for 14 months and will become fully-fledged social workers in early 2017.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The Step Up to Social Work programme is going to help us grow our own social workers, nurturing their development so that in under 2 years they will be providing the best possible support to our children and young people.”

“I can’t wait for the trainees to join us in improving our services for children and it is wonderful news that they can’t wait to get started too.”

The Somerset-led consortium consists of six local authorities across the region: Bath and North East Somerset Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Swindon Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council. They will be working closely with a similar South West partnership which is made up of Dorset County Council, Wiltshire Council, Poole Borough Council and Bournemouth Borough Council.

The Step Up to Social Work programme targeted graduates with a 2:1 in any discipline except Social Work who have experience of working with children. It is a 14 month, fast-track, programme which will lead to a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work for the trainees.

For more information about the Step Up to Social Work project please visit