Take the next step on your career ladder in Northamptonshire

27 July 2016
Wooden staircase

Are you looking for a social work career where you can grow and develop? At Northamptonshire County Council, we know that if we want the best professionals in our social work team, we need to provide ladders for our rising stars.

 “We have a fantastic team here in Northamptonshire who are dedicated to making children safer,” says Alex Hopkins, Director of Children’s Services. “The problem is, we need more of them! We know the best way to do that is to grow the talent we already have by offering solid support and opportunities for them to develop and achieve with us.

“We’ve done a huge amount of work in the last couple of years to really look at our support system, training packages, and career progression opportunities to make sure our employees feel stable and prepared to do an excellent job for the children they’re working with in their current roles, and able to see a path for their career progression that they feel inspired to pursue.”

Meet our rising stars

Emma, Principal Social Worker

Career Path: Event Coordinator > Trainee unqualified social work support while studying > NQSW in the support team > Manager following post-qualifying award > Principal Social Worker

“Before I started in social work, I was working as an events co-ordinator which was interesting, but left me with little job satisfaction or sense of achievement.  In 2005 I attended a careers fair and picked up a pack from NCC about social work careers and enquired about roles.”

“After an interview I was given an unqualified role and then trained to be a social worker. I was able to complete my masters while still working for NCC on a sessional basis. When I qualified I began working in a support team and quickly grew in confidence. I was supported in my post-qualifying award and eventually I progressed to be a manager before becoming the Principal Social Worker in November 2015. I have been able to progress due to the support and guidance of good managers that I have had the privilege to work with in Northamptonshire.”

Sarah, Practice Manager

Career Path: Student Placement > Social Worker > Practice Manager

“I completed my degree in Social Work in 2012 and did my final placement in Northamptonshire. I had a very supportive Practice Educator, who was the manager within the team. I gained valuable knowledge and experience from them during my placement and was encouraged to apply for a full-time post in Northamptonshire following qualification.

“I was successful in my application and therefore joined NCC as a full-time social worker in 2012. I have been supported by my managers to continue my professional development and have had the opportunity to complete a wide range of training courses, which have enhanced my knowledge and social work practice.

“I have also been encouraged and supported to complete training programmes in respect of career progression, which has provided me with relevant skills and knowledge. This gave me the confidence to apply for a Practice Manager post.

“After obtaining this post, I moved to a new team with new challenges. I have a supportive manager and I am currently responsible for managing four social workers, which includes one Newly Qualified Social Worker from the Social Work Academy.

“I have also been supported in applying for the Enabling Others programme, which I am currently completing. This will enable me to be a Practice Educator and support other student social workers. I am proud that I have been able to progress to a Practice Manager within Northamptonshire and am now able to support and encourage others with their own career development and progression.” 

Maxine, Service Manager

Career path: Secure Unit Worker > Social Work Training > Social Worker > Principal Social Worker > Team Manager > Service Manager for the Social Work Academy

“I transitioned from residential social worker through a secondment for training route. This gave me the opportunity to complete my social work training while continuing to be employed by NCC. Once qualified, I was inspired to gain experience in field social work and applied for a qualified position within our Initial Assessment Team.”

“I was mentored in my early years by a supportive supervisor and manager who encouraged me to embrace opportunities and continue with my development. I was then offered the opportunity to transition into a Principal Social Worker post in Northampton. This was a new area of work for me and a busy team. I again was highly supported by my manager and my peers, I managed a experienced team of social workers with complex cases and through new experiences I gained further experience and was able to widen my knowledge of management.”

“I have continued my progression up to service manager within NCC and throughout my journey have been supported by managers and fortunate to have committed teams around me. I am proud to be the service manager for our social work academy and feel that it is great that I started in NCC as a non social work qualified person and am a ‘home grown’ employee who remains with the organisation and now supports our Newly Qualified Social Workers.”

The career pathway

It all starts with your Performance Appraisal and Development Plan. This is created between you and your manager to make sure you’re achieving and supported in your current role, can take advantage of training opportunities, and are working towards your goals, whether you’re an aspiring manager or interested in a specialist professional role.

Mentoring and Support

You’ll work closely within a team and with your team manager, plus regular updates and open lines of communication with more senior managers means all of Children’s Services is working towards the same goal:  to make children safer.

You won’t be thrown in at the deep end either. Our Children’s Services Induction Programme will make sure you have the training, tools, and contacts you need from the start.

Training and Skills Development

Training programmes ensure you can face challenges with confidence. Some courses help you gain experience facing common issues such as domestic violence, child sexual exploitation, and neglect, and some to help you with personal development and wellbeing, such as stress and resilience workshops, developing supervision skills, strengthening assessment and risk management, and even IT.

Continuing Professional Development

Our career pathway programme recognises routes of progression from each role, helping you to achieve your career aspirations. You may want to take leadership and management training or pursue a specialist subject.

Employee Recognition

The Above and Beyond the Call programme rewards our workers for their hard work and dedication to making a difference to children’s lives. If selected as a winner by senior management, the nominee receives a £50 high street gift voucher and an additional day’s annual leave to be used within the next 12 months.

Your Performance Appraisal and Development Plan also ensures your excellent work and can be officially noted and recognised by pay grade increases.

Join our team

If you’re passionate about making children safer and ambitious about the future, we’d like to meet you. See our social work recruitment website for current roles available in Northamptonshire, and to have an informal chat about how you might fit in and flourish as part of our team. 


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