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Social Work Admissions and Interview Process

Social working chatting to girl

Interviews, entrance tests, portfolios and auditions

Social work is a profession in which we have very privileged opportunities to work with people who are often at their most vulnerable, and in circumstances in which rights and obligations may be conflicting. For this reason, selection processes are rigorous and thorough. We select those who demonstrate a combination of personal, academic and professional skills and attributes that social work requires.

The apprenticeship employers carry out the first stage of the assessment process in order to satisfy themselves as to which candidates they wish to put forward for interview. They will first invite applicants to write an expression of interest demonstrating that the applicants meet the entry requirements*

Once the employers have drawn up a short list of applicants to interview, the applicants will be invited to an interview with a panel or interviewers that will comprise a representative from the university, the employer and a person who has lived experience of social care services.

Successful candidates from the interview stage will be invited to fill out the university application form.

*Some organisations may have their own local requirements as well as the university programme entry requirements.

Tips for the Apprentice applicants

When you are offered an interview for the BA (hons) Social Work Apprenticeship programme, you are expected to demonstrate your suitability for social work training. The following items are some of the key things expected to be evidenced during the selection process. We hope you will find them especially useful in clarifying our entry requirements and your own expectations:

  1. Demonstrate your suitability for social work training (i.e. the knowledge, values, personal characteristics or attributes and skills, gained through education/work/personal experience), which align with the Professional Capabilities for Social Work entry level expectations: https://www.basw.co.uk/professional-development/professional-capabilities-framework-pcf/the-pcf/entry.
  2. Demonstrate evidence of a service user/carer/person-being-helped e.g. a commitment to working in partnership and co-production
  3. Demonstrate knowledge and awareness gained through previous academic
  4. study, reading and other sources of information relevant to social work and social work training
  5. Demonstrate a level of literacy and numeracy, commensurate with Social Work England (SWE) and Middlesex University entry requirements for undergraduate or postgraduate study. Further details on qualifications and entry criteria
  6. Demonstrate an ability to communicate clearly and accurately. These requirements will be assessed in the UCAS personal statement, entry qualification requirements and during the interview.
  7. Demonstrate a sufficient level of personal suitability and ‘fitness’ appropriate for academic study and professional practice placements (subject to provisions of the Equality Act 2010). You will be required to complete a Declaration of Suitability for Social Work, online and provide signed consent for Middlesex University to contact your General Practitioner, if so required, as part of appropriate and proportionate assessments of suitability for professional training. You will also be required to inform Middlesex University of any health-related problems that may impact on your ability to continue safely and effectively with academic study and professional practice placements whilst enrolled on the Social Work Programmes
  8. Be prepared to undertake an enhanced DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check [previously known as Criminal Records Bureau CRB check] and declare, for example, any criminal convictions or police cautions received prior to interview. Please be aware that candidates whose applications are successful will have to meet the cost of the enhanced DBS check. Our Next Steps information gives more guidance for you.
  9. Demonstrate key motivations for undertaking social work training at this particular point in time, and an initial awareness of the realities of contemporary social work practice in the UK
  10. Outline the preparations you'll make to deal with the demands of social work training and academic study
  11. Consider any questions you may wish to ask at your interview and consider the pre-interview tasks you need to undertake before your interview.

Guidance for apprentice applicants

You will be invited for interview if the apprenticeship employer you are applying to has satisfied themselves that you meet the entry requirements, having assessed your literacy level. By asking you to do a short essay and by providing a satisfactory reference, normally from your current employer.

Interviews are important opportunities for you to see whether you would enjoy spending the duration of your course with us, and for us to assess your suitability in a holistic way.

You will have succeeded in being shortlisted by our employer apprenticeship partner – well done! However, it maybe a reality that there are more applicants for places than we and the employers can make offers to. In order to provide you with the very best possible opportunities to demonstrate your potential and actual ability, we have designed a rigorous, but fair process and all applicants will be assessed against the same standards.

Preparing for your interview

An introductory reading list has been included with the documents on the web-page where this guidance is located in order to give you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with some of the knowledge, skills and values relevant to social work practice.

You are not expected to have read them all! However, during the interview you will be asked to refer to any reading undertaken to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of social work practice and to evidence your motivation.

It is therefore important that you prepare by reading some of the recommended list. Identifying and carrying out relevant reading helps to evidence your commitment and motivation and also enables a more thorough assessment of your intellectual readiness to be undertaken at interview.

Pre-Interview Task 1

Before your interview you are required to read the short chapter ‘What is Social Work?’ from Neil Thompson’s ‘Understanding Social Work’. Please read the chapter in full, take notes as we will be asking you at interview of your understanding of social work roles and tasks. Please also refer to other reading from the reading list provided.

Pre-Interview Task 2

Before your interview you will need to watch this very short video on person-centred care. At interview you will be asked about person-centred practice in social work so you might want to make some notes from the film and read more on this topic.

Further interview preparation

Below are some further issues and concepts you might want to think and read about before your interview.

Think through a particular situation you have encountered with an individual/group/agency. For example, if you have been faced with the following situations, how did you react? An honest answer will benefit you and help identify learning needs:

  • Working with challenging behaviour
  • Feeling anxious
  • Needing to act assertively/authoritatively
  • Looking back on the situation, what might you have done differently, and what did you learn from it?
  • How did you endeavour to work in partnership with the service user/carer/ person being helped?
  • What aspects of your own background (e.g. age, gender, sexual identity, physical abilities, class, race and ethnicity) are important to you?
  • How do you react to those who differ from yourself in these respects, and why are these aspects important in social work practice?
  • What is meant by anti-discriminatory practice?

You may find making some notes on these topics helpful. Think through these topics and perhaps discuss them in advance of the interview with a social work colleague, your supervisor, your referee, or a friend, so you can discuss them during the interview.

The recruitment process can be highly competitive so you should prepare to perform to the best of your ability. A lack of preparation may be interpreted as a lack of genuine commitment or motivation.

The Social Work and Admissions teams and the employers sponsoring wish you every success with your application and interview. Good luck!

Equality and Diversity

We believe that opportunities to participate in higher education should be provided to all those with demonstrable ability to benefit. We also recognise the benefits, to the University and to the wider community, of recruiting a diverse population of students and aims, in so doing, to widen and deepen access to Higher Education.

Our admissions procedures reflect these beliefs and is outlined in our policy document.

Get in touch

Prospective Social Work Apprentice Employers:

If you would like to learn more about our programme and how we can work in partnership to provide a social work apprenticeship for your employees or people from your community Please contact:

Sarah Lewis-Brooke
Programme leader for the BA (Hons) Social Work apprenticeship programme

Apprentice Applicants:

If you are applying to a specific apprenticeship and have queries about the course or the application/interview process please email the Apprenticeship Team directly via apprenticeship@mdx.ac.uk

The course

Learn more about the BA (Hons) Social Work apprenticeship programme.