Success for Kent’s first cohort of Social Worker Apprentices

The University of Kent is celebrating its inaugural cohort of Social Worker apprentices who have completed the Social Worker (Integrated) degree apprenticeship with flying colours. The University of Kent launched the Level 6 Social Worker (Integrated) degree apprenticeship in March 2020 and today saw the culmination of their hard work and dedication as they graduated at Rochester Cathedral, marking a significant achievement in their social work careers.

This rigorous programme combines academic coursework with practical on-the-job training and has enabled the apprentices to develop a wide range of knowledge and build on the skills and behaviours vital to becoming a competent social worker. The first cohort of 29 learners from five different employers based in the South East of England, including KCC and Medway Council, have passed the programme with flying colours, achieving an average EPA mark of 65 and an average degree award of 66% (resulting in an Upper Second class BA with honours).

End-point Assessment (EPA) forms a vital element of the Apprenticeship Standard and for this particular Standard the EPA is integrated, meaning the University of Kent are the End-point assessment organisation. The EPA process comprised a structured assessment that gave the students an opportunity to demonstrate their individual strengths. The assessment included a case study, written exam and a professional discussion centred on the knowledge, skills and behaviours developed through on-the-job and off-the-job training.

All 29 apprentices passed the programme with the average EPA mark for this was 65 (resulting in a merit) and the average degree award was 66% (resulting in an Upper Second class BA with honours). The Apprentices will now continue in roles within their organisation and become newly qualified social workers.

“We are extremely proud of the first cohort of Social Worker apprentices who have completed their integrated degree,” said Johanna Woodcock Ross the Director of Studies for the Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship. “Their achievement demonstrates the value of such routes into social work, particularly for more mature or experienced social care workers. We look forward to seeing how they will apply their knowledge and skills to help improve the lives of the people they serve.”

The external assessors commented on the interesting cases presented and evidence of thoughtful and considered practice throughout. Assessor Zuzia Goddard said of the overall EPA process, “It was clear that each strand of the EPA gave students the opportunity to demonstrate their individual strengths – for some this was in their ability to write academically, for others it was in the presentation of their knowledge and skills. This has allowed for equity in the final grading.”

The successful completion of this apprenticeship underscores the importance of apprenticeship programs in preparing individuals for meaningful careers in social work. It serves as a testament to the quality of learning and professional development these programs offer.

Clair Bell, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said “I am hugely proud to welcome our new Social Worker apprentices who have all worked so hard to complete their degrees.

“The work they will now go on to do will support some of the most vulnerable people in the county, both children and adults, and I wish them every success on their career pathways in such a vital sector.”

The University of Kent has expanded its apprenticeship since 2020, with 94 apprentices currently enrolled across more than 20 different employers in England, including local authorities and independent organisations. This growth reflects the apprenticeships success in preparing students for the contemporary challenges of social work and the increasing demand for skilled professionals in the field.

Find out more about joining our next cohort of Social Worker apprentices: Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship – Apprenticeships – University of Kent