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Career paths

We support the many routes into social work, so whether you're just starting out or looking to develop your career further, you can at Devon County Council.

Family practitioners

You might think that you have to do a Social Work degree and Master programme to become a Social Worker. But for many the route in to social work is to work as an unqualified assistant, alongside Social Workers on a day-to-day basis. Within Devon County Council, our unqualified social work assistants are currently called Family Practitioners and they work directly with children, young people and families, doing a lot of home and community visits to families who have come to the attention of social work teams.

Each year, we support a small number of Family Practitioners to undertake the Social Work degree via the Open University. We offer a varied amount of funding. This may mean that we ask you to fund the degree yourselves, but you're still paid your salary whilst you work and study, and are given access to placements to support your learning. For some workers joining a critical team, we may offer a bursary to cover the cost of the course.

At present, if you're seeking to gain some social care experience whilst you are doing your course, anything which involves contact with children, young people, families and communities is going to be very helpful. Unfortunately given the confidential and sensitive nature of social work, it is not possible for us to be able to offer work experience placements.

Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) (Adults/Children)

Our Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme is nationally renowned and attracts applicants from all over the UK. We work with Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSW) to develop their professional confidence and capability and provide opportunities to develop this over the year of the programme.

Our approach is to present a programme that provides high levels of support with clear opportunities for learning and development. The key elements of our support package in our programme include:

  • Three day induction presentation schedule 
  • Regular supervision 
  • A team buddy
  • Monthly mentoring 
  • Case discussion groups 
  • ASYE presentations
  • A reduced, realistic caseload.

We'll assess your development throughout the programme through regular reviews, work products and practice observation and help you identify your development needs on an ongoing basis. The ASYE programme will provide opportunity for you to develop your professional capability and confidence.

Supporting social workers

Experienced Social Workers

Experienced social workers are at the heart of what we do. In Devon, we're fully committed to providing all the support, training and development our experienced social workers need in order to continue to improve their professional practice. We've recently introduced an improved development programme for managers to ensure that each and every social worker receives the best possible support. This includes regular supervision, appraisals, and learning and development opportunities.

Transition into Social Work programme

We've developed a six-month programme that provides the opportunity for qualified and HCPC registered social workers who have experience in other areas of social work – either overseas, or in areas such as mental health or adults' teams – to be supported to 'transition' into a children's social work role. This programme provides a framework of structured support and development with regular reviews of progress, whilst working in the role of Senior Social Worker.

Explaining social work transition at Devon County Council

Student placements

We've lots of experience working with social work students in providing placements as part of their qualifying programme. By building a group of practice educators, we know that we're able to provide good practice learning opportunities for students in a range of our teams. We see this as an important element of our succession plan: by providing good positive placement learning experiences in a statutory environment we believe that students will be in a good position to apply for positions as part of our ASYE programme.