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How to apply

We have now announced that the deadline for starting new applications for most areas – except the ones listed on our Opportunities page – is 5pm on Monday 7 December. You will need to complete the first step of our application process – which is to fill in our registration form – by the deadline. 

Applications will remain open beyond 7 December for the areas listed on our Opportunities page. The deadline for the remaining areas will be announced with at least one week’s notice. Head to our Opportunities page to find out more and apply.

Check your eligibility

You will need to meet the Think Ahead programme’s eligibility criteria.

Check your eligibility

Register your details

To begin the application process, you will need to give us your contact details and tell us about your academic qualifications. Start your registration form now by heading to our Opportunities page.

Take online test

Once you have registered your details, 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.

Complete your application form online

If your online situational judgement test is successful, you will be notified by email and will be invited to complete the application form online. 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.

Attend assessment centre

Based on the strength of your application and your answers to the situational judgment test, you may be invited to attend an assessment centre.

Because of the coronavirus, we are running assessment centres remotely until at least March 2021. If you reach this stage of the process, our recruitment team will provide more information on how you can take part.

Our assessment centres run from October to June, and you will be given a choice of dates.

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.

The activities include interviews, group exercises, and a role play. You will be assessed by experienced professionals and mental health service users and carers, according to our attributes.

The assessment centre is also an opportunity for you to find out more about what the role will involve.

You will need to present one form of photo ID, such as your passport or driver’s license. Our recruitment team will provide more information on this requirement ahead of your assessment date.

The assessment is the final stage of the selection process. You will hear within one week 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, usually, undertaking a day of work shadowing with your 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.

 

To find out more about the application process for the Think Ahead programme, watch the video below:

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 mental health 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, you can look at our About mental health social work page and relevant content in our News section.

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.
  • Be prepared to present your photo ID.

Stay relaxed!

We want to see you in your best light, so we’ll do our best to put you at your ease.