Your career progression

Child and social worker playingProgression Programmes

We have a career progression structure denoting three levels of progression programmes to support your professional development.

The progression programmes are accredited by the University of Chester at Master Level. At each level you will receive 20 level 7 credits and on successful completion of the programme you will gain a postgraduate certificate.


Newly qualified Social Workers are supported and developed through their first year of practice on the Assessed and Support Year in Employment Programme. You will be supported through this programme by a senior practice lead who will invest in your development and mentor and coach you.

You will receive additional supervision, weekly for the first six weeks of employment, fortnightly up to six months and reducing to monthly thereafter.

As an ASYE social worker you will be supported additionally through reflective practice, peer group sessions, protected study time (up to six days), protected caseloads, tailored learning and development programme and shadowing and co- working.

An additional increment within the Grade 8 pay structure will also be awarded on successful completion of the ASYE programme.

Grade 8-9 programme

This is a 12-month programme supporting you through your second year of practice in order to develop your practice as a Grade 9 Social Worker. This is an accredited programme in partnership with the University of Chester.

Grade 9-10 programme

This is a 12-month programme that is research based, promoting and developing best practice and demonstrating your ability to lead and present a research project as an assessed piece of work. This is an accredited programme in partnership with the University of Chester.

Progression framework

A career progression framework is in place which outlines:

  • Progression routes
  • Continuous professional development and carer development opportunities
  • Aspiring leadership and management programmes

Continuous professional development (CPD)

Child and social worker drawingWe have a strong professional development programme to support you in your chosen career pathway and CPD opportunities. In recognition of this we have a number of bespoke and tailored programmes:


We have an effective and tailored induction programme for all new Social Workers who join the service or are new to the role.

Buddy programme

As a new Social Worker to Cheshire West and Chester your manager will appoint you a ‘Buddy’. It is the Buddy’s role to offer support and assistance with the many informal aspects of settling into a new post. Where appropriate, your Buddy’s role may be extended to be used to promote practice skills and experiences through practice observations, shadowing cases and joint working

Professional development plans

All Social Workers have Professional Development Plans to identify learning and development needs.

Leadership and management

Aspiring Team Manager Programme

This Programme has been developed in partnership with the University of Bournemouth and provides an integrated approach to developing skills and knowledge for our future Team Managers. This programme is available to Social Workers Grade 9 or above upon application and interview.


This is a national leadership development programme that focuses on investing and developing Social Work Managers to become high performing and influential leaders, equipping them with tools, space and confidence to develop their leadership skills to have a positive impact. The programme will be delivered between March and November 2017, and is available to Team Managers subject to a competitive recruitment process.

Women into Leadership (WIL)

Our Women into Leadership Programme is designed to support women to move into leadership positions and to share experiences.  Throughout the year there are regular WIL newsletters and you will be given the opportunity to attend conferences and lunch and learn sessions.

Aspiring Senior Practice Lead Programme

This Programme is delivered in partnership with the Principal Social Worker and Bournemouth University to develop the skills and knowledge for future Senior Practice Leads in the service, in order to build expertise within the front line teams, through coaching, mentoring and leading in best practice. This programme is available to Social Workers Grade 9 or above upon application and interview.

Development opportunities

This programme provides you with the opportunities to meet your identified learning and development needs and widen your knowledge and skills. It is an opportunity to transfer into different teams and service areas within Children’s Social Care and to increase your knowledge and skill base, to aid your professional development. This programme is available to all Social Workers Grade 9 and above.

Stage 2 Practice Education (Grade 9 & 10 Social Workers)

We will support you through this programme to develop your skills and practice through mentoring and developing students. We provide support and investment for Practice Educators and a payment for each student placed with you.

Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) (Grade 9 & 10 Social Workers)

This is a Pan Cheshire Joint Agency Training Programme with Cheshire Police, available to Social Workers Grade 9 and above. The programme supports and equips Social Workers with the skills, knowledge and understanding to undertake joint investigations into allegations of child abuse;  and to record interviews with children who are victims/witnesses of abuse in ensuring that ABE standards and guidance is met.

PAMS (Parents Assessment Manual Software)  (Grade 9 & 10 Social Workers)

This is a specialist assessment that has been developed by Dr Sue McGaw to assess parents with learning disabilities. In Cheshire West and Chester we are committed to investing and developing Social Workers across the service to be trained in undertaking this assessment process to support and improve outcomes for children and young people.

Learning and development

Learning and Development Programme

This programme is commissioned for Children’s Social Care and offers a range of learning opportunities to meet individual need as well as service specific areas for learning and development.  Mandatory routes are identified for each of the progression programmes as well as offering advanced practitioner courses for experienced Social Workers.

Online resources

You will have an account with Research in Practice to access on line evidence based resources to promote best practice and meet individual learning needs through accessing  a wide range of resources including e-learning and webinars.

You will also have access to i-learn programmes to support your learning and development needs.