Careers Service

Social and Probation Work

Social workers can specialise in helping particular client groups such as children or the elderly.

Either an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification in social work is necessary. If you are applying for admission to a postgraduate course, substantial relevant work experience will greatly improve your chances - for some courses, it is required.

The Probation Service for England and Wales has recently introduced a new qualifications framework and recruitment process. There is no Probation Service in Scotland; equivalent roles are carried out by criminal justice social workers, who are part of local authorities’ social work departments and follow the same entry procedure as other social workers.


Professional bodies

British Association of Social Workers - represents people working in the social work profession. Contains a useful section on 'social work careers'.

Fast track graduate schemes

Frontline - a new initiative aimed at recruiting top graduates to undergo intensive on-the-job training to become children's social workers.


Step Up to Social Work - is a government-funded programme which enables graduates to work towards a qualification to practise as a social worker while gaining intensive hands-on experience.

Step Up to Social Work


Scottish Social Services Council - regulates the social care sector in Scotland. There is an extensive section on education and training in Scotland, which includes information on courses and bursaries.

Scottish Social Services Council

Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) - public body which investigates situations where children may be in need of protection or intervention. Includes a Day in the Life of a Children’s Reporter, and supporting roles, and current vacancies.

Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA)

Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ)  - body responsible for developing, supporting and understanding  youth justice practice, policy and research in Scotland

Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ)

Sector Profiles are produced by The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils (Scotland), providing sector information and statistics. The following reports include Youth Justice and the Care Sector.


Skills for Care - home of the National Skills Academy for Social Care, responsible for workforce development. Provides extensive information about careers in the sector, and offers a graduate management training scheme. Also has resources to support newly qualified social workers in their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE).

Skills for Care

Skills for Care: ASYE

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) (previously the Health Professions Council) regulates social workers in England.

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Northern Ireland and Wales

Northern Ireland Social Care Council - is responsible for standards in the social care sector in Northern Ireland. The website contains lots of information on social work careers and training in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Social Care Council

Care Council for Wales - this website has information on what work as a social worker is like as well as explaining training and qualifications in Wales.

Care Council for Wales

Probation work

National Probation Service - covers England and Wales* working in partnership with community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) that manage low and medium risk offenders. 

National Probation Service

Jobs in Probation - this information from Probation Service explains what roles are available and where jobs are advertised

Jobs in Probation

List of probation trusts (England & Wales only) - under the new entry structure, entry into the profession is through employment with one of these trusts.

List of probation trusts (E&W only)

Probation Board for Northern Ireland - this website contains information about the work of the PBNI, details about what a probation officer does and there is also a specialised recruitment section.

Probation Board for Northern Ireland

Useful resources

Community Care - online journal for the social care sector. The site advertises jobs and has a searchable directory of employers and care providers.

Vacancy sources

NB vacancies may also be listed in many of the sites above.


Great Social Care - a social care jobs website which will include candidates on an electronic mailing list and allows them to register with relevant recruitment agencies in the sector.

Great Social Care

My Job Scotland - the national shared recruitment portal for Scotland's 32 local authorities.

My Job Scotland

Probation Bulletin - main place to look for vacancies in probation work and includes comparable positions in Scotland.

Probation Bulletin