BA (Hons)

Social Work: Apprenticeship

The University has been running a number of successful social work programmes for many years at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. At the end of 2018 the government signed off standards for a new apprenticeship in social work. This is a new route towards gaining an approved qualification in social work, which is regulated by Social Work England.

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Course overview

The programme is a partnership between the University and a number of employers of which Hampshire County Council is the lead. Although many prospective and existing students are interested in the apprenticeship in social work they have to already be working for a local authority in our partnership to be considered eligible. If you already work for a local authority you can check their website to see whether they offer an apprenticeship in social work. This new programme is an employer led course funded by the ‘Levy’ that local authorities must pay as required by central government.

For those working for Hampshire County Council they have to be working in a social care post for a minimum of one year. The University is unable to take any other interested candidates. They have to be employed by a local authority and selected as suitable for the apprenticeship. The government supports this route as it views apprenticeships as a direct way of recognising experience and talent in the workforce and retaining good staff by training them to become social workers.

What you need to know

Course start date



On campus, Winchester

Course length

3 years part-time Degree Apprenticeship


Typical offer

See entry details


Course features

  • Choose a career where you can make a real impact on the lives of vulnerable people
  • Gain vital real-world skills on practical work placements in each of the three years
  • Learn from staff, service users, carers and practitioners who ensure teaching material is interesting, challenging and up-to-date

Course details

Start date:

January and September

Before you start

Before an apprentice starts on the programme they will be sent a skills scan to complete and return to the University. The skills scan focuses on the knowledge, skills and behaviours that will underpin all their learning, and it will form the basis of a discussion between the apprentice, a representative from their local authority/employer (usually their manager) and an academic member of staff from the University of Winchester.

This meeting will look at the apprentice’s previous work experience and academic record to consider the most appropriate level for them to join the Social Work Degree Apprenticeship. It will also be the starting point for their individualised learning journey which will be supported by twelve-weekly ‘tripartite’ meetings. Tripartite meetings will include the apprentice, their line manager and a skills coach from the University and will focus on the individual learner journey throughout their time at the University of Winchester.

Learning and teaching

Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market.

You are taught primarily through a combination of lectures and seminars, allowing opportunities to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time such as lectures and seminars etc.), you are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team, your personal tutor and the wide range of services available to you within the University.

Work based learning is a central feature of the apprenticeship programme. The first year is located in the apprentices’ own work setting. The apprentice remains in their existing role the service they are employed and is given a reduced workload to reflect their new role of learner. Their role title will change to social worker apprentice. The theme of this first year is introduction to social work. This is followed in the second year by a contrasting practice experience either within the same service or different for a period of 70 days. This year is themed around consolidation of knowledge and skills. The final year is a 100 days practice experience involving social work tasks. This again could be either in the same service or different. The theme for this year is being ready for practice. This means they are ready to register and enter practice as a social worker. The Programme is based on transitions; developing and changing towards new areas of capability.

Independent learning

Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.


Taught elements of the course take place on campus in Winchester.


Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.


Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to


Introduction to Professional Practice

This module is a basic introduction to working in a regulated profession. It covers rights and responsibilities under codes of practice.  It presents you with core ideas in social work and begins your journey of reflection and learning. This particular module seeks to build your professional base.

Introduction to Social Work

This module will enable the you to research a range of practice frameworks that provide the method for interventions; what they are; how they impact on services and their effectiveness from published evidence. Such frameworks might include - Signs of Safety, Restorative Practice, systemic practice, child centred, strengths based, family-led or culturally responsive, etc. In supporting practice frameworks students will investigate available tools, models, templates that social workers might use for the purpose of communication, assessment, conflict resolution, building resilience, etc.

Introduction to Social Work Knowledge

This module develops your understanding and application of sociology, ethics and psychology to social work.  The task of social work is managing moral dilemma and as such you will investigate both your own ethical and moral development and ground that within your reading. There is no easy prescription to social work. Using best evidence to inform one’s judgement on ethical decision-making is at the heart of effective social work. Social work is informed by a number of core disciplines to provide an underpinning knowledge base. However critical thinking and moral judgment are the two most important constructs social workers rely upon to practice both the art and science of social work.

Relationship Based Social Work

You will be introduced to a range of skills needed in working with service users and carers, in order to develop confidence and competence in communicating with others, to gain experience of presentation skills, understand the importance of professional boundaries, promote choice and involve others in the decision making. You will be asked to undertake reflective exercises, peer and user feedback will be used throughout the module, alongside practical workshops to allow you to practise your skills. Building and sustaining relationships is the heart of good and effective social work. Building and developing key skills to communicate effectively to a range of diverse people is critical to effective social work practice.

Introduction to Law, Ethics and Social Policy

The module will draw upon your knowledge and experience and develop an understanding of the ethical framework in which the law and social policy is formulated in England and how it operates. You will understand how to apply ethical decision making as the basis for sound professional judgement. You will explore the concept of sound professional judgement using the 4 model framework applied by Jonathan Dickens (2013) (e.g. duty, society, virtue and care).


Consolidation of Professional Practice

You will have an opportunity to consolidate your knowledge values and skills in working directly with service users and their carers. In this module there will be an emphasis on building relationships, developing communication skills and working with other professionals, and as such places much emphasis on service user contributions.

You will have the opportunity to put into practice core teaching from level 4 (year 1) and further develop your understanding of key and fundamental aspects of social work, including keys skills in social work.

Critical Analysis and Investigation of Practice

Critical thinking and reflective skills are essential to effective decision making and this module will take the form of critical reflective learning in small groups. You will share and investigate critical incidents from your practice experience in a safe learning environment supported by service users who are experienced in this type of student engagement and facilitated by lecturers. You will be invited to think about your practice and make links with relevant theories, skills and experience. To do this successfully you need to engage in evidence-informed practice, evaluate practice systematically and participate in audit procedures.

You will also be encouraged to make links with ethics, values and to think anti-oppressively. It will be a requirement that you keep a learning log which can be drawn upon in the summative assignment and used as evidence in your practice placement assessment. You will also be expected to use the University closed discussion board system throughout the module.

Introduction to Social Work Law

This module will provide you with a basic understanding of social work law and its relationship with practice across adults and children’s legislation and policy frameworks. It will provide an opportunity to develop your critical skills and knowledge in analysing applied law in social work practice.  Acquiring legal literacy to perform safe and legal social work tasks is a core part of social work practice.  This module provides an understanding of the ethical basis of practice within a Human Rights framework to legitimise social work decision making.  Indicative legislation taught covers the following legislation: Children Act 1989, Mental Health Act 1983, Mental Capacity Act 2005, Care Act 2014, Human rights Act 1998 and Equalities Act 1998

Risk and Assessment

This module will address safeguarding in both adult and child contexts; enabling you to recognise, and respond to signs of harm and abuse. It will support you in your analysis of assessment of risk. Assessment and risk represent deceptively simple concepts, however good assessment is the cornerstone of social work practice and therefore will be explored in-depth. Assessments can have a significant impact on the lives of children, young people, families and communities; therefore assessment frameworks and the ways in which ways assessments are conducted and how information is used and analysed will be considered.  Effective assessment is a transparent area of practice where the social worker is clearly accountable for his/her actions. Stringent recording and communication are essential cornerstones of good practice. You will continue to learn about the importance of research and by encouraging research literacy you will develop skills required to be critically informed and your work be supported through evidence based practice.


Applied Legal Knowledge and Decision Making

This module will provide you with the opportunity to enhance your skill and knowledge in critically applying law in social work practice. Acquiring legal literacy to perform safe and legal social work tasks is a core part of social work practice.  In this module social work apprentices are expected to demonstrate their evaluative skills in applying social work legislation to their work-based learning.  You will be expected to not only know the powers and limits of the legal framework but provide defensible evaluation against legal and ethical challenge.

Applied Practice Issues

This module presents a range of key concepts in social work such as self-determination and strengths based working and how these impact on different service user groups, key issues and areas of concern such as: domestic abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and homelessness and mental health.  Being able to evaluate and critically analyse contemporary issues in society is fundamental to the core task of social work.

Ready for Practice

This module will provide you with an opportunity to learn as you practice in your final year.  During your work-based learning you will undertake a 100 day practice focus decided by your manager in discussion with you.  This experience wil involve tasks of more complexity and of a statutory nature. The assessment is dictated by the standards and can only be complete once you have achieved 300 credits.  The assessment is carried out by a suitably qualified person who is not part of the teaching team.  They may be from another part of the university or outside and external to the university.  Once completed this will ensure you are ready and safe to practice to the minimum standard of eligibility to register as a social worker.

Entry requirements

See entry details

There are no formal academic entry requirements for the BA (Hons) Social Work – Degree Apprenticeship, but applicants will be asked to demonstrate level 3 study and GCSE English Language and Maths at Grade C/4+ (or equivalent) either during the selection process or before formal completion of the course. The University will work with your employer to evaluate your suitability for social work education, including your values and understanding of social work, fluency in spoken English and suitability for apprenticeship study. This process will involve employers and University teaching staff. An enhanced DBS check is mandatory. 

Course enquiries and applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234
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Additional requirements

A GCSE A*-C or 9-4 pass in English Language and Mathematics, or certified equivalent, is required. Please contact Course Enquiries to discuss equivalent qualifications. 

You will need to provide original certificates to the University. If you only hold a ‘statement of provisional results’ and do not hold original certificates, please contact the relevant awarding body to obtain a ‘certified statement of results’ as soon as possible. Further information about obtaining a replacement exam certificate is available on the website.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check required when students accept the offer of a place on the course (the indicative cost of this is £40:

All candidates must have significant prior social work/social care/youth work experience in a paid or voluntary capacity in a relevant setting, in order to demonstrate an informed decision to embark on a career in Social Work.

International students seeking additional information about this programme can send an email to or head to the International Apply page.

To secure an apprenticeship you will need to apply for a full-time position with one of our partner employers. To gain a place on this programme you will have been successful on application and interview as conducted by the sponsoring business in conjunction with the University of Winchester. Alternatively, you may be seeking career enhancement within your current role. In this case you will need your employer to support you by offering a Degree Apprenticeship with the University of Winchester.

In the absence of formal learning qualifications applications are welcomed from persons who can demonstrate relevant work experience, including work in a voluntary capacity. The course structure actively supports claims for Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) and Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

Costs to Student/Apprentice

  • Apprentices are full-time employees and will be entitled to a wage and paid time off to study
  • There are no tuition fees

Employer Information

Detail on the latest employer contributions and the levy can be found on the Information for employers page.

Additional costs

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:


Core Texts

Core texts are available from the University Library; however some students prefer to purchase their own copies. Some core texts can be bought second hand or as an ebook, which can often reduce this cost. Indicative cost is £100 per academic full time year.

Field trips

There may be additional costs for optional off-campus activities. Some trips are local and free, however if the trip includes coach travel, the student is expected to cover this cost. Indicative cost is £20.



Students are required to pay for Camtasia, for use on campus. Indicative cost is £20.

Disclosure and Barring Service

A Discloure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check is required when applicants accept their offer for a place on the course. Indicative cost is £40.

Students are not required, but are recommended, to register for the DBS update service during the length of the programme. Indicative cost is £13 per year.

Business Insurance

Students will be required to have appropriate motor insurance if they are driving their own vehicle during any placement. The type of motor insurance cover will depend on the type of journey that they undertake. Driving to and from the placement is commuting and driving as part of the business activity during the placement day is driving for business use.

Printing and Binding

We are proud to offer free printing for all students to ensure that printing costs are not a potential financial barrier to student success. The University of Winchester and Winchester Student Union are champions of sustainability and therefore ask that all students consider the environment and print fairly. Students may be required to pay for the costs of dissertation binding. Indicative cost is £1.50-£3.