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Step Forward programme applications

Our 12-month fully funded leadership development programme for social workers in the early stages of their career.

Are you looking to level up your social work career? The Step Forward programme is a fully funded leadership development programme for early-career social workers. You’ll develop your leadership skills and increase your impact on the children and families you serve in your local authority. Let us support you as you navigate your next career steps.

The programme focuses on three core themes:

Our team tell you about the Step Forward programme

Why join the Step Forward programme?

Develop your leadership skills

Discover your unique leadership style, while identifying your personal strengths and areas for development.

Navigate your next career steps

Explore the career opportunities available to you and the knowledge, experience and skills to progress into your next role. 

Drive systemic change for children

Collaborate and gain insights into the tools required for successful change initiatives that will help shape the future of social work.

Time commitment

The Step Forward programme is a 12-month programme and requires a commitment of nine days. This is typically distributed as two two-day residentials, one day for coaching sessions, three days for online workshops and one day for additional commitments. You are not required to submit any essays or assignments as part of the programme.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the Step Forward programme, you must fit at least one of the following criteria.

Post-ASYE fellows

Fellows who are working in local authorities having completed year 2 of the Frontline programme and want to progress within local authority social work. 

Fellows who are experiencing barriers to progression

Social work and non-social work fellows who are working in children and family services who are experiencing systemic barriers to progression and/or are from underrepresented groups.

New or less experienced managers

Fellows who are in supervisory roles in or outside local authorities, but they have not had the opportunity to engage in leadership development CPD to support them in the transition to a leadership role.

Fellows working as social workers in different settings

Fellows working outside of statutory social work, including in the voluntary sector or wider sectors that support children and families. They might face challenges in accessing development opportunities due to their organisation’s structure or experience difficulty staying connected with their practice or finding tailored learning and development opportunities.

Join the Fellowship community

To stay up-to-date with the latest opportunities, upcoming events and connect with your social work community, sign up and download the Frontline Fellowship app.

Diversity and inclusion

We recognise social workers from underrepresented backgrounds may be facing systemic barriers to progression. The Step Forward curriculum has been designed specifically to address and overcome those challenges, giving social workers the tools to navigate next steps in their career.

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