Show/hide main menu

Developing capacity

What works in 'Grow Your Own' initiatives for social work?


This project identified and assessed approaches by local authorities and independent sector employers to support their employees, or potential employees, to qualify as social workers. These are known as ‘Grow Your Own’ initiatives. The project had a particular focus on exploring the impact of ‘Grow Your Own’ on the diversity of the workforce. It was intended that the project will encourage the further development of diverse routes to, and support through, training to enter the social work profession. 

Research team

Jess Harris, SCWRU
Jill Manthorpe, SCWRU
Shereen Hussein, SCWRU
Elizabeth Gibbs, Open University
Monica Dowling, Open University


Gateways Development Fund, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills; Department of Health; Skills for Care; Children’s Workforce Development Council; The Open University; Unison; JUC SWEC.


In 2005 the Government response to the Langlands report on access to the professions was the announcement of a ‘Gateways Development Fund’ of £6m over three years to support projects within England that tackle the barriers faced by people seeking to enter the professions through higher education. This project, developed and supported by a group of stakeholder organisations, was led by the General Social Care Council, being one of the 11 projects funded under Round One, which focused on entry to specific professions.


The project’s methodology included a literature review; semi-structured interviews with 20 employer organisations, 20 higher education institutions and 40 ‘Grow Your Own’ students or recent graduates; and a mapping of the broader context of developments that create or remove barriers to social work for groups under-represented in the workforce. National Stakeholder Events were being held at the outset and at the final stage of the project.


February 2007 – November 2008


Harris, J., Manthorpe, J. & Hussein, S., (2008), 'What Works in ‘Grow Your Own’ Initiatives for Social Work?' [pdf, 799 KB], London: General Social Care Council.
Noble, J., Harris, J. & Manthorpe, J., (2009), 'Grow Your Own Social Workers: A Toolkit' [pdf, 610 KB], London: General Social Care Council; Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London.
Manthorpe, J., Harris, J. & Hussein, S., (2011, online), 'Employers' experience and views of Grow Your Own social work programmes: a qualitative interview study', Social Work Education.

Hussein, S., Manthorpe, J. & Harris, J., (2011), 'Do the characteristics of seconded or sponsored social work students in England differ from those of other social work students? – A quantitative analysis using national data', Social Work Education, 30(3): 345-359.

Manthorpe, J., Harris, J. & Hussein, S., (2010, online), ‘Social work educators’ views and experiences of Grow Your Own qualifying programmes in England', Social Work Education. 
In the media
16 December 2009 Jill Manthorpe makes reference to the toolkit in the 'Career Clinic' column of Community Care magazine.
Sitemap Site help Terms and conditions  Privacy policy  Accessibility  Modern slavery statement  Contact us

© 2019 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454