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Opportunities for experienced social workers

Become a Consultant Social Worker

Progress your social work career:

  • Join a movement of leaders promoting and strengthening mental health social work.
  • Lead a unit of talented Think Ahead participants.
  • Develop your skills in practice, supervision, and education.
  • Get fully funded training, including a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Social Work from Middlesex University.

Ask us about opportunities in your area


Consultant Social Workers are employed by our host organisations to lead and develop first-year participants on the Think Ahead programme. It’s a full-time position, managing a unit of four to six participants placed in an adult mental health service. You retain a frontline role, sharing a mixed caseload across the unit, acting as their leader and role model.

You will work intensively with participants to provide practice education of outstanding quality, enabling them to take increasing responsibility for the unit caseload as they progress. Working with an academic tutor, you will assess their ability to put social work theories, interventions, and legislation into practice.

To find out more about participant units, and the programme generally, see How the programme works.


Becoming a Consultant Social Worker is an opportunity to progress your social work career. You will join a group of expert leaders delivering a prestigious, high-profile initiative, and you will lead and work with exceptionally talented individuals.

To equip you for the role, we will provide a unique, fully funded and accredited training course. This will consolidate and develop your expertise in evidence-based interventions, advanced supervision, and practice education. If you do not already hold the Practice Educator Stages 1 and 2 qualification, you will receive additional training and be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Social Work from Middlesex University.

Most employers will also offer a salary enhancement, although this varies from organisation to organisation.


You need to be a registered social worker with significant experience of promoting recovery in community mental health services. You will also need the enthusiasm, confidence, and authority to inspire others.

You do not need previous experience as a Practice Educator (training is provided).

To find out more:

Ask us about opportunities in your area

Consultant Social Worker vacancies are advertised by the NHS Trusts and Local Authorities that host Think Ahead participants, typically as one-year secondments or fixed-term contracts. You usually need to be an existing employee of a host organisation to apply. We’re talking all the time to organisations that may become hosts, so if your employer isn’t currently working with us (or if you’re not sure whether they are) it’s still worth contacting us.

Join our Professionals Network

Our Professionals Network is an informal group of social workers from all over England.

If you are a qualified social worker, it is a chance for you to hear about opportunities we have, including roles to work on our assessment centres and to work with us to forge further links with individual NHS Trusts and Local Authorities.

If you would like to support Think Ahead, please do get in touch.

Ask us about the Professionals Network

Become a Practice Specialist

Think Ahead employs Practice Specialists – experienced social workers who work with our host organisations to ensure effective local delivery of our programme.

We are not recruiting for anyone currently but full details will always be listed on our opportunities at head office page.