Slough Children’s Services Trust has welcomed five new students who are set to become the social workers of the future.

The group has come on board through the Step Up to Social Work programme, a national initiative where students spend 14 months gaining hands on experience alongside academic learning at Bucks New University and come out with a post-graduate diploma in social work.

Successful applicants need a post-graduate degree and six months work experience with young people. Some students were already working in other roles with the trust or elsewhere, while others have come straight from university.

Tabassum Nagi, who has been working with the trust as a family support worker, is one of the five students who have been selected.

She said: “I love that the Step-Up programme is a combination of on the job learning as well as theory and I’m really excited for this opportunity. Since working at the trust, I’ve had lots of opportunities to increase my insight into social work and have really been encouraged to develop my career. By training to be a social worker, I hope to be able to make a difference and to help ensure that children and young people in Slough have a safe and bright future.”

The Trust runs the programme every two years, as part of the Berkshire partnership which also includes Bracknell, West Berkshire and Reading. The partnership has increased its investment in the programme, taking on more students including those coming from careers in teaching, the police and accounting.

Georgina Andrews who manages the programme for the Trust said: “I’m really excited about our new cohort – there’s real talent there and I hope they’ll stay with the Trust to do their qualifying ASYE year and much more, as those from the previous groups have done. There’s lots of opportunity to learn, develop and try new things here and we get really positive feedback from our students. It’s great to know that there’s a demand and passion for social work and a real desire to make a difference.”