We are committed to raising the standards of social work practice.

As part of this, we ensure that all our students are provided with:

  • placements in at least two practice settings providing contrasting experiences; and
  • a minimum of one placement taking place within a statutory setting, providing experience of sufficient numbers of statutory social work tasks involving high risk decision making and legal interventions.

Statutory placements are those that offer experience in one or more of following areas:

  • The Children Act (1989) s.17
  • The Children Act (1989) s.47
  • The Care Act (2014)
  • The Mental Capacity Act (2005)

Your first placement will be 70 days long and your final placement 100 days. Placements are sourced by the University on behalf of students – so you do not need to find your own placement.

70-day placement

The first placement in Year 1 is usually in the private or voluntary sector. Here, you will get an excellent grounding in underpinning aspects of good social work practice, and how social workers function in organisations.

100-day placement

This placement is in the statutory sector, which means it will be within a local authority or an agency performing statutory duties that may have been delegated to them by the local authority.

This is excellent experience, and places students in a very strong position to get a job at the end of the course.

University of Manchester students are very well respected in placement agencies, and many are offered jobs in the agencies they undertake their final placements.

You will be supported throughout your placement by experienced social workers and practice educators, both at your placement agency and at the University.

Skills days

There are 30 skills days spread over the two years of the course, which aim to help you develop your professional social work skills.

Skills days are part of practice placement and focus on developing your communication and assessment skills, as well as your knowledge of different areas of social work practice. They are interactive and use a range of teaching methods, including workshops, online sessions and simulation suites.

There are 20 skills days in the first year and 10 skills days in the second year.

In Year 1, you will work on your Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice before you go out on your first placement. You will be supported in developing your direct communication skills and will practice undertaking interviews in simulation suites with people with lived experience of social work, social work practitioners and academics.

Other skills days across the two years will focus on developing specific aspects of your practice. For example, you will work alongside law students in a moot court, and simulate giving evidence in court as a social worker.

Locations and hours

Placements will be within the Greater Manchester area, though consideration will be given to students who may require a placement outside this area on an individual basis. Placements will be in a variety of local authority, voluntary or private agency settings.

Placements take place in the second semester of teaching, and students attend placement four days a week. This means that you will normally be on placement from February onwards during the first year and from January onwards during the second year. You will normally be on placement Monday to Thursday, with some skills days held on a Friday.