Liverpool Hope University has this year launched a forward-thinking expansion to its BA Social Work degree with a programme designed to get more Black social workers employed in the profession. And here, in an extensive FAQ, we bring you everything you need to know about Black Access to Social Work - a Route Into the Profession for Diverse Communities, including those all-important details about how to actually apply for it.
So, is this still a regular Social Work degree at its core?
It is, yes. Applicants will be recruited to join a BA (Hons) in Social Work at Hope, a programme that’s accredited by Social Work England (SWE) and which means graduates are eligible to register with SWE as a professional social worker. What’s different with our Black Access to Social Work pathway is that the University has created 15 extra spaces on Hope’s Social Work degree programme exclusively for those from under-represented communities and Global Majority groups.
Who’s behind the degree? And why has it been created?
Black Access to Social Work is being run in conjunction with Liverpool City Council. And one of the key driving forces behind the initiative is Lord Mayor of Liverpool Anna Rothery. Councillor Rothery is the first Black Lord Mayor in the history of the City, and has recognised that too few people from the city’s Global Majority groups take-up roles in social work - which has a significant knock-on effect for those needing care.
Is there anything else that’s unique about Black Access to Social Work?
There is, yes. As part of a typical Social Work degree, students will complete two social work practice placements. And students on this project will be offered their final placement with Liverpool City Council.
What’s also unique about Black Access to Social work is that students will also be assigned a Black ‘Mentor’ - a professional social worker, many of whom are employed by Liverpool City Council and who are there to guide undergraduates through their studies. These mentors are equally passionate about recruiting more people from diverse communities into their profession. And they’ll also be able to impart the knowledge they’ve learned from years on the job - potentially shedding light on the everyday racism they may face, or simply being on hand to offer help with any specific situations they may encounter.
Who are these mentors?
The majority of mentors are Liverpool City Council social workers, from diverse communities, and also from a wide variety of departments and backgrounds, running from Early Help right through to Court Teams and Adult Services. You can read about some of their stories here and here. Students will have regular meetings with their mentors and they’ll also be on hand to offer guidance and support when individuals need it most.
When does the course actually start?
The course starts in September this year (2021) and applications have begun in earnest, with interviews due to take place in May and June. Recruitment will also soon begin for the 2022 intake year.
How do I apply?
To apply for the Black Access to Social Work - a Route Into the Profession for Diverse Communities programme you should first apply to the standard Social Work undergraduate degree at Hope through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).
Then, once you’ve applied through UCAS, you should send details of application, along with your UCAS number, to the email email@example.com stating that you wish to register your interest for the Black Access to Social Work - a Route Into the Profession for Diverse Communities pathway. Applicants will then be contacted directly.
What sort of grades do I need to apply?
Ideally, you’d need to have 120 UCAS tariff points - equivalent to around three Bs at A-Level - or DDM at BTEC. You’d also need to have a GCSE Grade C or above in English (Grade 4 or above in the new grading system).
BUT it’s important to stress that the University will look at what qualifications and experiences you have and how these can translate into equivalences. And if you haven’t quite got those grades, we also offer a Foundation Year degree route - a full-time course which forms the first year of a four-year degree.
If you’re unsure about grades, you can find a tariff calculator here.
Is there an age limit on applications?
There is no maximum age limit, but you need to be 18 years old or over to apply. The only thing to bear in mind is that if you’re 60 or over you may get limited funding for Maintenance Loan from the Student Loan Company. Offers will also be subject to a satisfactory Health Check Statement and application to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Is there a deadline on applications?
We’d strongly encourage people to apply ASAP. We have a limited amount of spaces available and once we have filled these positions, the course will close for 2021 and open again for 2022.
Who do we envisage applying for the course?
We know that there are a wealth of jobs in the social care sector where staff are passionate and enthusiastic about their area but have never considered social work as a route for them. This route is open to people with a wealth of experience whether it be youth and community, social care settings or care settings to name but a few and want to expand that experience into the field of social work.
I’m really interested in this - but I need assistance preparing the application and writing my personal statement. Is there anyone at the University who can help me?
Absolutely, there is. The Recruitment team is happy to support people in this way. Please just email firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s it like studying Social Work at Hope? How is it different to other universities?
As pointed out above, the Social Work degree at Hope is accredited by Social Work England (SWE), which is crucial for graduate employability as it means you’re eligible to register with SWE as a professional social worker. And there are other things unique to Hope when it comes to studying Social Work. In your second and third years, you will undertake a total of 170 days work placement in a social work setting. And during your second year you will also have the opportunity to undertake a social work placement in either India or Gambia, or a four-week mental health Summer School that includes an exchange trip to Michigan, USA We are the only Social Work course in England that offers you these options.
Hope also enjoys what’s called a ‘Simulation Suite’, which allows graduates the chance to role-play some of the common events and scenarios a social worker might face - such as removing a child from a home. It’s through these simulations that students are able to fully acclimate themselves to the high pressure environments they’ll face in real life.
Am I guaranteed a job afterwards?
The Black Access to Social Work programme is very much geared towards graduates finding social work opportunities within Liverpool City Council. However, a job opportunity cannot be guaranteed. What’s important to point out is that social workers are very much in-demand across the board and the vast majority of our graduates are in employment within six months of graduating.
What sort of things will I learn?
As a Social Work student at Hope you will study aspects of sociology, social policy, psychology, law, social theory and social work methods, skills and practices. You will explore barriers such as poverty, disability, racism and sexism that service users often face in society. Such barriers impact on people in a range of negative ways and it is important we understand the nature of the society in which we live and the way it can affect people in their lives.
How can I find out more information?
Hope is hosting a series of webinars, in conjunction with the City Council, where you can hear from both the mentors and the people who have worked so hard to put this degree programme together. The next webinar takes place June 2nd, from 6:30-7:30pm. And there will be another webinar July 7th. To book yourself onto one of the free sessions, simply go here.
What happens if I’ve got other questions which need answering?
Please just email email@example.com and a member of the team will reach out to offer support. And if you have a question around finance - including details of SWE bursaries - please email firstname.lastname@example.org.