Hello, my name is Alison Rawlins and I am a Practice Educator Specialist.

My passion is in mentoring and enabling colleague’s development, supporting pre-qualifying students undertaking work based placements in the City Council and post qualified colleagues completing Practice Educator training.

I work closely with local Universities and the D2N2 Teaching Partnership to improve the quality of professional social work training.  Within my role I design and deliver training within the Council and coordinate the Step Up to Social Work scheme below.

Step up to social work

Do you have what it takes to ‘Step Up’ to social work?

Social work is both a challenging and rewarding career through which you can make a real difference for vulnerable children and families. You will need to build relationships with families facing difficult times, show a lot of patience and be a good listener. You will also need good observational skills, analytical thinking and sound judgement to make the right decisions and protect children. Social work regularly tests resilience, stamina, and resolve - all of which you will need to succeed. Social work can be life changing for those you support. 

Through our successful 14-month Step Up to Social Work programme you will receive intensive, hands-on experience of working in a real-life social work role through placements in a local authority. Once you’ve successfully completed the course, you’ll be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work enabling you to register and practice as a social worker.

This is a unique opportunity to earn while you learn, as the Department for Education provides funding via a tax-free bursary payment of £19,833, over the duration of the programme, and payment of University fees for successful applicants. This will allow you to change or start a new career in social work and be able to continue to pay your bills and fund your living costs while you are studying. The programme runs once every two years, dependent on government funding, so if you are interested, make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to apply.

Step Up to Social Work entry criteria

We are looking for strong graduates who have experience of working with vulnerable children, young people, families or adults and who can demonstrate their maturity and emotional resilience.

This is a postgraduate programme, so you will need to have either a minimum 2:1 level 6 degree qualification, for example an honours degree or a graduate certificate (can be in any subject), or a minimum 2:2 honours degree plus a postgraduate qualification (level 7 or above), for example a Master’s degree or a Postgraduate Certificate/ Postgraduate Diploma, in a discipline other than social work.

You should also have GCSEs in English or English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, or the new grade 4 and above (or an approved equivalent). You will need to show all of your original certificates to us as part of the application and assessment process. If you cannot find these, you can order replacements online

We are particularly interested in applications from men and from BAME candidates, as these groups are under-represented in this area of social work.

Your 14-month programme will pass very quickly, and if your local authority has vacancies you will be guaranteed an interview for a social worker role in children and families statutory social work. The starting salary for a social worker in most authorities in this region is around £30k per annum.

For prospective applicants interested in completing the programme and working in Nottingham City Council – this drop-in session will provide an opportunity to ask questions about the programme and the application process.

Step Up to Social Work prospective applicant drop-in session

Wednesday 10th March 16:30 – 18:00

via Zoom


Please register your interest in attending by emailing Alison Rawlins alison.rawlins@nottinghamcity.gov.uk and a link will be sent out closer to the date. 

Students can expect to start the programme in January 2022, completing their training in March 2023.



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