West Berkshire Council

Newly Qualified Social Worker Varsity

Helping you progress in your social work career

The Social Work Varsity helps our Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs) working with children and families to become confident and capable social work professionals.

We provide our NQSWs with protected time, reduced caseload and opportunities to develop knowledge and skills while they gain experience in a frontline social work team.

The Varsity's programme of training is called 'the Three Journeys'- child, agencies and practitioner's journeys. These journeys represent the three pillars of our social workers' professional success: the child's journey, the agencies' journey and the practitioner journey.


The Three Journeys are geared to provide support and assessment against the key knowledge and skills statement not only to NQSWs but also to Experienced Social Workers working with children and families in preparation for their ASYE and for the Internal Endorsement of Local Authorities for National Accreditation respectively.

We want our social workers to feel valued, secure and supported so that they in turn offer the best possible service to children and families in West Berkshire. Visit Children and Family Services Recruitment for more information about our generous and wide-ranging benefits package and find out from our social workers and managers why they think West Berkshire is a great place to live and work.

We have two intakes a year, of four NQSWs. Available opportunities are advertised on our Jobs Portal, or you can contact the for further information.

Social Worker NQSW Varsity group photo
Social Worker NQSW Varsity group photo



What do our Varsity students say?

Ellis Woodley portrait
Ellis Woodley portrait

Ellis Woodley

Before I undertook my social work Masters I completed a degree in Psychology with Education Studies (BSc). I have completed placements at Berkshire East and South Bucks Women's Aid (now known as DASH) and Hillingdon Youth Offending Service (YOS). Throughout both my university degrees I have also worked as a part time floating support worker with adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems, living in the community.

My expectations for my time in the academy are that I am able to continue my social work learning as I still have much more to learn in regards to the different areas of social care. I hope to become confident in my job role and fulfil the role of a social worker to the best of my ability. I also hope that I will fully understand how to apply theory to practice and become very knowledgeable in regards to the main theories used here in West Berkshire.

Charisse Cummings

I moved to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean to pursue further studies in Psychology. Whilst I was completing my Psychology course, I shadowed a social worker within a nursing home and it was during this experience that I decided on a career in social work. I was impressed by the social worker's ethics and values, her way of working as well the power she had to make a difference in the service users' lives. During my training, I worked as an advocate for adults with learning difficulties and as a Family Support Worker at Barnardos Family Intervention Project.

I feel that the Academy is an ideal environment to start my social work career. I expect a platform where I will receive support and guidance from my colleagues, an environment where I will witness effective statutory social work practice as well as having access to a wealth of experience and knowledge from the staff who are already here. I feel privileged and I look forward to learning more about the organisation and the services.

Charisse Cummings portrait
Charisse Cummings portrait
Elizabeth Lord portrait
Elizabeth Lord portrait

Elizabeth Lord

I joined the academy after completing my masters in social work. I have completed various pieces of voluntary work including with a domestic violence charity and a sports charity for children and adults with learning difficulties and physical disabilities. During my social work degree, I completed placements with an anti-human trafficking team and at Foster Care Associates. I now look forward to developing my knowledge and skills around children's services, and I am eager to deal with any challenges I may face.

The academy has provided me with a supportive environment to enable me to learn and develop my confidence. My experience of the academy so far is very positive and I think I will be able to develop my skills through the range of methods that are provided, including action learning sets, e-learning, classroom sessions and working with a buddy team. The team is supportive and I look forward to working closely with my new colleagues.