Career and Qualification Pathway

We offer a continued programme of learning and development, together with a defined career pathway to support our social work team in their professional journey.

Social Workers in Cornwall are employed across I, J, K and L grade, with progression based upon knowledge and skills, experience, qualification and performance.

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Evidence of capabilities should also be in line with the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF).

Progression between levels is determined by people's abilities to manage issues such as complexity, risk and responsibility in a range of professional settings.

H Grade starting at £20,727

We are committed to growing and developing our own workforce for the future and this starts with our Trainee Social Workers. TSWs are employed as social care practitioners and undertake a programme of learning through work experience, academic study and practice placements in which they develop the full range of social work values, knowledge and skills that are required to meet the health and social care needs of adults in Cornwall.  

H Grade starting at £20,727

We welcome colleagues who are returning to the profession, and are able to support returning social workers whose registration has lapsed following a career break in excess of two years. Whilst returners gain their required practice experience and await HCPC registration, pay will be equal to that of TSW.

For an informal discussion please contact Rebecca Burden, Principal Adult Social Worker rburden@cornwall.gov.uk 01872 327000

I Grade £25,502

Our newly qualified social workers undertake a one year supported learning programme aligned to the national Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE). During this time they receive support and supervision from qualified Social Workers and operate with a reduced case load. They also receive support from Practice Educators and access to peer group supervision. NQSWs probation period is aligned with the ASYE thus upon successful completion NQSWs are confirmed in post and are able to progress along the career pathway.

I grade £26,778 upon completion of ASYE

I grade £28,053 upon completion of PG Certificate

During years 2 and 3 of post-qualifying social work, our Social Workers are supported to consolidate their practice and receive continued support to undertake further learning and post-qualifying awards.

Social Workers can progress on the basis of undertaking approved post-qualifying awards, demonstrating learning in practice and areas of expertise, mentoring junior staff and managing more complex caseloads. This must be approved by a Panel before approval as an Experienced Social Worker.

J grade starting at £30,603

‘Experienced social workers are more autonomous in their role. They demonstrate expert and effective practice in complex situations, assessing and managing higher levels of risk, striking a balance between support and control, liaising with a wide range of professionals, including more senior levels. They manage complex caseloads, and offer expert opinion within the organisation and to others. They chair a range of meetings, offer expert support to case conferences, and produce high quality assessments and reports for a range of functions. They model good practice, setting expectations for others. They start to take responsibility and be accountable for the practice of others, mentoring newly qualified social workers, and supervising the work of junior staff. They undertake capacity-building with individuals, families, communities, user groups and voluntary organisations, and contribute their views on service provision to commissioners’ (PCF).

Progression to an Advanced Practitioner is based on undertaking higher specialist awards and demonstrating learning in practice, as well as helping adults to achieve improved outcomes.

K grade starting at £32,001

Advanced Practitioners help to develop the various specialisms and ensure continuous learning and development within the profession.

‘At the advanced level, it is expected that all social workers will provide practice and/or professional leadership, through the development of research-informed practice, quality assurance, staff development, knowledge development or management, and will also help to influence and contribute to strategic development in the organisation. Social Workers at this level make a difference by working either directly with people in highly complex situations, or by supporting and/or developing staff or knowledge, to provide better outcomes for people who use services, families, carers and communities’ (PCF).

L grade starting at £36,462

Principal Social Workers work in partnership with Team Managers and are responsible for leading, motivating, nurturing and supervising a small single or multi-disciplinary team with the aim of consistently achieving practice quality standards and performance targets as the basis for improving outcomes for adults and their families. They are accountable for the practice of social workers within the team they manage, and provide or ensure effective professional and practice supervision for which they have access to high quality training.

View current adult social worker vacancies

View our Frequently Asked Questions