Check your eligibility
You will need to meet the Think Ahead programme’s eligibility criteria.Check your eligibility
To complete the online application form, you will need to give us your contact details and tell us about your academic qualifications. You will also need to answer some questions about experiences you have had demonstrating:
- That you are committed to Think Ahead’s goals and values.
- That you possess the attributes necessary to become an excellent mental health social worker.
You will also be able to let us know your preferred regions, and whether you are able to drive, when you apply. We will do our best to take account of your preferences, but we do expect you to be flexible about where you live and work.
Take online test
If your online application is successful, you will be invited to complete an online situational judgement test.
This multiple choice test describes a number of situations that you may face as a mental health social worker, and asks you to choose an effective response to each scenario.
Attend assessment centre
Based on the strength of your online application and your answers to the online test, you may be invited to attend an assessment.
Our assessment centres run from November to February, and you will have a choice of dates to attend.
At the assessment centre we will ask you to demonstrate your experience and show us that you have the attributes we are looking for. You will take part in a number of activities linked to the day-to-day work of a mental health social worker. You will be assessed by experienced professionals, and the assessment also involves mental health service users and carers.
The assessment centre is also an opportunity for you to find out more about what the role will involve.
We will ask you to bring some documents to the assessment, so that we can verify your right to work in the UK and witness the documents necessary for your application for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate.
The assessment is the final stage of the selection process. You will hear within two weeks whether you have been successful.
Receive conditional offer
If you are successful in the selection process, you will be made a conditional offer to join the Think Ahead programme. The offer will be conditional upon:
- Us being satisfied that you have the right to work in the UK.
- Your references proving satisfactory.
- You receiving a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, with subscription to the update service.
- You undergoing a satisfactory occupational health assessment.
- You accepting a place that we offer you, and undertaking a day of work shadowing in that host organisation.
Receive unconditional offer
Once you have met the conditions of the offer, you will be made an unconditional offer.
If you accept it, you will be sent a contract to sign, and some preparatory reading.
Guidance on the selection process
Our selection process is designed to test your potential to become an excellent mental health social worker – so you don’t have to be the finished product when you apply.
But there are a few things that you can do to improve your chances of success:
Make sure you understand, and want to do, the job
- Think carefully about your reasons for applying and why social work and Think Ahead is the right career move for you.
- Do some research on what being a mental health social worker is like – as well as helping you decide if it’s the right job for you, this will be useful if you are invited to assessment. To start you off, look at our About mental health social work page.
Think about how you will demonstrate the attributes
- On the application form and at the assessment, you will need to provide examples—from your work, academic, or personal life—showing that you have the attributes we are looking for.
- Try to use a variety of different examples, to show the depth of your experience.
- We’re interested in things you have done yourself (and if you were part of a team, the personal contribution you made). You should be able to use “I” rather than “we” when describing what was done and achieved.
Take care over the online application
- Complete the application form carefully, and take your time.
- Check your writing for spelling and grammar.
- Make sure you answer the question that you are being asked. Do not just copy and paste your answer from another application form.
Approach the assessment professionally
- Wear professional dress.
- Bring all the documents we ask you to.
We want to see you in your best light, so we’ll do our best to put you at your ease.