Liverpool Hope University is readying to launch a forward-thinking expansion to its BA Social Work degree, with a programme designed to get more social workers from Black and Global Majority groups employed in the profession. It's called Bridging the Gap - and it's a route into social work for a huge range of communities that aren't adequately represented in Liverpool's social work teams. That includes Black, Asian, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Somali, Yemeni, Indian, Pakistani, Black African and Black Caribbean communities - and a whole lot more besides. It's open to anyone living in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which incorporates the councils of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, and Wirral. And here, in an extensive FAQ, we bring you everything you need to know about Bridging the Gap, including those all-important details about how to actually apply for it.
When does the Bridging the Gap: A Route Into Social Work programme start?
The course starts in September 2022 but Hope is encouraging applicants to apply now. Interviews will take place from December 2021 onwards. For all enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And what is Bridging the Gap, precisely?
Bridging the Gap is, at its core, just like a regular Social Work degree. 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 Bridging the Gap 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 currently live in the Liverpool city region.
And there's more.
As part of a typical Social Work degree, students will complete two social work practice placements. And students on Bridging the Gap will be offered their final placement with Liverpool City Council.
What's also unique about Bridging the Gap is that students will be assigned a special 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 Black and Global Majority groups 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’s behind the degree? And why has it been created?
Bridging the Gap is being run in conjunction with Liverpool City Council. And one of the key driving forces behind the initiative is former Lord Mayor of Liverpool Anna Rothery. Councillor Rothery was 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.
Who are the mentors involved in Bridging the Gap?
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.
How do I apply?
Bridging the Gap is open to anyone living in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which incorporates the councils of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, and Wirral.
To apply for the Bridging the Gap route into social work simply email email@example.com in the first instance in order to express an interest. The Social Work team at Hope will then simply guide you through the process from that point on. Again, just email firstname.lastname@example.org saying you're interested in Bridging the Gap.
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, Hope can provide personal advice and guidance. Just email email@example.com
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 for September 2022 and once we have filled these positions the application process will close. As stated above, interviews will begin in December 2021.
What sort of person should apply for the Bridging the Gap?
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. Bridging the Gap might be perfect for those sorts of people.
The route is open to those with a wealth of experience, whether it be youth and community, social care settings or care settings, for example, and want to expand that experience into the field of social work.
And in terms of your background, remember that Bridging the Gap isn't just catering for one community under the Black and Global Majorirty umbrella, it's open to anyone from Black, Asian, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Black African and Black Caribbean communities - to name just a few.
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?
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 Bridging the Gap route into social work 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 in-demand across the board and the vast majority of Hope's 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.
What sort of career can I ultimately embark on?
Being a social worker is about so much more than just working with children. You might find yourself working with families, older people, people with learning disabilities, people with other disabilities, drug and alcohol misusers, alongside homeless people or people with a medical condition. Social work skills are also highly transferable and valued by other potential employers.
And social workers aren't just employed by city councils - you could work for charities or private organisations, or even dedicated teams within the NHS. You can read the stories of Hope's recent Social Work graduates here and here.
What happens if I’ve got other questions which need answering?
Please just email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.