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The University of Ulster is expanding Social Work studies at its Magee campus with a new part-time degree that could help carers and social and health care staff become qualified social workers.

 At Magee, the University of Ulster already has a full-time three year BSc Honours Social Work, which is also provided on a two-year fast track for graduates with a relevant degree.

Professor Mary McColgan, Head of School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies, says there is an increasing need for trained social workers and the new part-time course should be especially attractive to prospective students who do not have the option of giving up work.

“ The University is keen to widen opportunities for people to be able to apply for social work training. The new part-time course will effectively be the three-year course spread over five years. We have 55 places on the full-time course and the part-time course will have 15.

“Students will spend two-and-a-half to three days a week in lectures at Magee, with the ‘practice learning’ elements of the course in years three and five.

“It is a demanding course because it is a demanding professional arena that increasingly needs trained and qualified people.”

Professor McColgan says the part-time degree will make a very significant contribution to the University’s support for the social work profession in Northern Ireland. New graduates in Social Work must complete an  ‘assessed year’ in employment before they are professionally accredited by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. 

Professor McColgan said: “The part-time course is aimed at people who may be carers and who, up to now, could not even consider availing of training, and also at those already working in the social care and health fields who want to take up social work on a full-time basis.

“This expansion of social work provision at Magee is another demonstration of the University of Ulster's commitment to opening up higher education study to people who might have missed out on education chances earlier in life.”

More than 100 people attended two recent information sessions about the course and competition for places is expected to be keen. Closing date for applications is January 15th 2010.