Applications open to join the Think Ahead mental health social worker programme 2022

21 March 2022

Cheshire West and Chester Council is once again partnering with a mental health charity to offer a paid training opportunity for budding mental health social workers.

The council is working with Think Ahead to offer the chance to do a two-year fast track programme.  

Think Ahead offers a paid two-year fast track route into mental health social work for graduates and career changers. This course includes a four-week summer programme, master’s degree and leadership training. 

The role of a Think Ahead mental health social worker would involve supporting people facing severe and long-lasting mental illnesses, including severe depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. 

The Think Ahead programme begins with a four-week Summer Institute in July, where applicants join the rest of the 2022 intake to learn the skills needed to start frontline work in mental health social work. 

Recruits then spend two years working in an NHS trust or local authority, qualifying as a social worker after their first year followed by a master’s degree after successfully completing the second year.

Talking about her decision to join the programme, Catherine, who is a second year Think Ahead participant at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said:

"To anyone who is thinking about a career in social work I would say that if you enjoy working directly with people you would find a career in social work really rewarding and I would encourage you to join the programme.

“I love the fact that my job not only involves working with people but it’s also about people. I love working with adults, particularly as it’s about empowering and supporting them.

“The best days are the days I go out on visits. It nourishes me and reminds me why I am here.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Cllr Val Armstrong said:

“This is the third year that we will have Think Ahead participants working with us at Cheshire West and Chester Council. It’s such an important scheme, with mental health social workers needed more than ever due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you are interested in applying then please visit the Think Ahead website and say that you are interested in working here in Cheshire West and Chester.”

Applications are still open to join the Think Ahead programme in 2022 in Cheshire West and Chester, although there are limited places available. The programme starts in July.

To find out more, visit the Think Ahead website at or contact the recruitment team via

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