I will be finishing a BA in public service management in December, and would like to go into social work, but I have been told a Masters degree is the only way. Is this right? Or does my (relevant) degree give me a shortcut?
Unfortunately, although your BA will be a useful foundation, if you don't have an undergraduate qualification in social work, you are now required to take a Masters in the subject. The majority of students do this on a two-year full-time programme, which includes substantial and varied work placements. If the prospect of two more years in academia is deterring you, you'll be relieved to know that varied and practical placements form a large part of the course and that these are paid. Grants and bursaries are also likely to be available for some students.
The only way to circumvent this process is to secure a role as a trainee social worker, in which case you will be seconded to a relevant course and will be learning while earning a reasonable salary.
Both options are very competitive. University admissions tutors and potential employers require substantial applied experience, usually on a voluntary basis, before considering your application. The General Social Care Council's website, www.gscc.org.uk, is a useful one, and has links to relevant sites in each of the home nations, where training arrangements are slightly different.
A good overview of what the job involves can be found at the www.social workcareers.co.uk website.
Is there a Clearing-type process for postgraduate courses at UK universities? I've just done a science degree at an Irish university and would like to go into dietetics. But my degree is only a "pass", so I think I may find it hard getting on to a course, and a Clearing- type route may be my best option. Failing that, it appears that I may have to do another three- or four-year undergraduate degree, which seems a bit repetitive.
While there are clearing houses for certain vocational courses in the UK, such as law and teaching, and also for MSc qualifications in the clinical sciences, most Masters programmes involve direct application to the universities concerned. In the case of dietetics, your choice of such courses is limited to fewer than 10 universities across the UK. These vary from diploma to Masters level. …