A pioneering social work degree apprenticeship – the first of its kind in the UK – has been developed by the Manchester City Council in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Social Work Academy.
Each of the Manchester apprentices has been chosen from existing members of Children’s and Education Services staff who have all expressed an interest in becoming social workers.
The 30-month apprenticeship course, delivered by Manchester Metropolitan University, will see apprentices spend 20 per cent of their time either in the university or undertaking self-directed study, and the remaining 80 per cent of their time in the workplace.
Apprentices will be given opportunities throughout the course to further develop their knowledge and practice their skills.
Paul Marshall, Strategic Director of Children and Education Services, Manchester City Council, said: “Each of the apprentices has already demonstrated their commitment to working with children and families through the job they do.
We wanted to harness this commitment and help those staff who were interested in becoming social workers to develop their skills, knowledge, and practice and work towards a professional social work qualification.
“After completing their course we aim to place the newly qualified social workers in social work teams where they can continue to learn and develop in a supportive environment.”
The 11 Manchester apprentices will be part of the degree programme’s first cohort of 34-degree apprentices – all drawn from the Greater Manchester area.
Melanie Moorhead, Early Help Practitioner for Children & Families, is one of the 11 Manchester apprentices.
She said: “I’ve always wanted to be a social worker and applied when I was 19 but was told to go away and get some more experience with children and families. It’s been a long time coming but now, 22 years later, I’m about to fulfil my dream.
“I’ve built up a lot of experience during this time but I’m really looking forward now to learning new things and getting a professional social work qualification.”