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We partner with NHS Mental Health Trusts and Local Authorities in England, who host Think Ahead participants for a year’s on-the-job training and then employ them for at least a year as newly-qualified social workers.

Together, we aim to attract outstanding people into the profession, pioneer better training, and realise the potential of social interventions to better support people with mental health problems.


Why partner with Think Ahead?

Boost the capacity and capability of your workforce


Receive brilliant new mental health social workers who are:

  • Highly talented. Our entrants have a 2:1 degree, and our selection process involves professionals and service users to test for the seven key attributes needed for excellent social work. We selected our 96 participants from over 2,300 applicants in 2015 – you can meet some of them here.
  • Expertly trained. The Think Ahead curriculum was developed by internationally renowned academics at the University of York, number one in the UK for social work research.
  • Outcome-focused. Our training concentrates on evidence-based social interventions, at the individual, family, and community level, which can be put to use straight away. Our participants use routine outcome scales.

Retain and upskill your current staff:

  • Each unit of four trainees is led by a Consultant Social Worker. This year-long role is a career development opportunity for your most talented frontline staff.
  • All Consultant Social Workers get free training which conveys Practice Educator Stages 1 and 2, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Social Work.

Join a network at the forefront of the sector


  • Connect with leaders in the field, including forward-thinkers from some of the country’s leading organisations.
  • Share best practice with other experts.
  • Strengthen partnerships locally and nationally.
  • Be recognised as an innovator, part of an initiative that has been highlighted by politicians of all parties and extensive media coverage.

John Short, CEO of Birmingham and Solihull NHS Trust, has written here about why he chose to partner with Think Ahead.

Get support worth at least £40k


For each unit of four Think Ahead participants you host, in their first year you get:

  • £4k saving on advertising: we don’t charge for our highly effective recruitment campaign.
  • £4k free training: we don’t charge for the 12-day course we give your Consultant Social Worker.
  • £32k payment: we offer this to help with practical costs and staff time.

In their second year, you can:

  • Fill four full-time vacancies: The participants are qualified social workers and can be deployed individually into any mental health team.


We’re proud partners of Think Ahead.

Claire Murdoch, NHS National Mental Health Director and Chief Executive of CNWL NHS Foundation Trust

You can find out more about how partnering with us works in our Invitation to Partner document:

Download our Invitation to Partner document


If you’d like to talk about partnering, we’d love to hear from you:

Get in touch with our programme team