Professional development

We are proud to say that in Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council you can expect positive support with your own professional development and access to excellent learning opportunities

Our vision is to develop and retain high performing, motivated practitioners and to ensure that our offer of continuous professional development makes Blackburn with Darwen an attractive place for you to work by offering you ‘the right support at the right time’

Our development offer:

  • Opportunities for all practitioners to grow, develop and deliver excellent services to our children, young people and vulnerable adults, carers and their families 
  • Development and sharing of good practice using strength based and systemic ways of working to achieve the best outcomes 
  • Learning and development programmes that meet CQC and Ofsted, Social Work England CPD requirements, Professional Capabilities Framework and Post Qualification Standards: Knowledge and Skills
  • Continuous professional development and career progression opportunities 
  • Supervision and appraisal to help identify individual strengths and areas for development 
  • Individual and group mentoring sessions to support the sharing of learning and networking across teams and services  

We encourage and value research, new ideas and innovation

Social Work Apprentices 

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council offers an exciting opportunity for our valued workers in our Children’s and Adult services to study for a Social Work Degree Apprenticeship through the Council, in partnership with UCLAN. We offer a small number of places each year to internal candidates who have to undergo a robust application and selection process. This is a very successful way to reward our loyal employees while growing our own Social Workers for the future  

Meet our Apprentices.

Trainee Social Workers

All trainee Social Workers studying on various qualifying programmes will receive a warm welcome in Blackburn with Darwen. Students on placement can expect a robust induction and access to a wide range of learning opportunities while studying or on placement with us  

Towards the end of the Social Work Degree, we actively support our Apprentices / Trainees to apply for Social Work roles within Blackburn with Darwen 

Social Work Training in Practice 

In Children’s and Adults Social Work services, we offer a wide range of development opportunities including formal post qualifying modules as well as a comprehensive programme of professional development with internal and external workshops.    

Workshop topics depend on current need and priority by service and include: 

  • Risk
  • Neglect
  • Mental Capacity
  • Safeguarding
  • Person Centred Care Assessment
  • Case recording and Legal Skills  

    Social Care Training in Practice 

    Adults and Children’s Social Care is varied with many different roles across a range of settings, working with children or people of different ages and support needs. 

    In Children’s services this might include working with young children, young people in residential or day settings, children with disabilities, young people’s services, Foster care, Leaving care, Safeguarding, Engage.

    In Adult services, this might include working with vulnerable people in their own homes, older people, those with mental health difficulties, day / disability services and respite care. 

    Working directly with people can be both challenging and extremely fun and rewarding, in Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, we provide our employees with the training and support they need to grow and to get the best outcomes for the people of the Borough. There is not ‘one size fits all’ for social care training but there are key programmes that can help. Managers will inform employees of the specific training requirements for their own work area.

    Social care development includes mandatory training workshops, in-house practical demonstrations, wider departmental workshops, shadowing, mentoring and guidance, formal college qualifications and individual research and learning online. We have an extensive programme of E-Learning on offer in Blackburn with Darwen  

    Dependent on service area / team, some of the training topics you might be expected to study include: 

    Workshops / E-Learning 

    Values and Skills 

    • Understand your Role 
    • Your Personal Development
    • Handling Information
    • Duty of Care 
    • Equality and Diversity 
    • Health and wellbeing
    • Work in a Person Centred Way
    • Communication
    • Privacy and Dignity
    • LGBTQ Awareness
    • Strength Based Approaches 
    • Systemic Practice 


    • Safeguarding Adults Awareness
    • Safeguarding Children’s Awareness
    • Prevent
    • Child sexual Exploitation
    • Neglect   

    Health and Safety training 

    • Basic Life Support
    • Emergency First Aid
    • Paediatric First Aid 
    • Health and Safety
    • Infection, Prevention & Control
    • Fluids and Nutrition
    • Food Safety and Hygiene Essentials  
    • Food Safety and Hygiene Level 2  
    •  Fire Safety
    • Moving and Handling of people (or Children)
    • Medicines safety 
    • Personal Safety/Lone working 


    • Care Act - Introduction and Overview 
    • Care Act - Care and Support Planning 
    • Mental Capacity Act 
    • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)
    • Children’s Act 

    Condition specific 

    • Mental Health Awareness
    • Learning Disability Awareness
    • Dementia Awareness 
    • Stroke Awareness  
    • Diabetes Awareness  
    • Epilepsy Awareness 
    • Parkinson's Disease 
    • Autism Awareness
    • Palliative Care and End of Life Care
    • Loss and Bereavement
    • Falls and Fractures Prevention 


    Apprenticeship training 

    NVQ and QCF qualifications have been replaced by Apprenticeship programmes. A training programme will support the learner to meet their Apprenticeship standards which demonstrate the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to carry out the job effectively and safely. 

    In Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, we recruit a number of new Apprentices each year and also train our internal workers using Apprenticeship qualifications. There is a process for our internal employees to apply for Apprenticeship funding for further study. 

    We work with our local colleges to provide the training. Many of the Apprenticeship standards are still in development and will come online in due course. Some of those available include: 

    • Lead Practitioner in Adult Care (Level 4)
    • Lead Adult Care Worker (Level 3)
    • Working with children, young people and families including carers, to achieve positive and sustainable change in their lives (level 4)  
    • Children, young people and families’ manager (level 5)

    Maths, English 

    We encourage our workers to achieve up to Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English, these are essential when applying to higher apprenticeships and qualification courses. 

    Anyone can apply for these and undertake them independently at a time to suit. These courses are mainly fully funded . 

    For further information, contact Blackburn College Hub on 01254 292929 and ask for Adult Maths and English FS. 

    Research and development

    Wider thinking and learning is extremely important to us in Blackburn with Darwen, all of our Social Workers and Social Care Workers are provided with access to:

    Leadership and Management 

    Our Leaders in Blackburn with Darwen access development appropriate to the level and service area, this will be determined along with personal development needs in discussion with managers. 

    Leadership developments can include formal accredited programmes; internal workshops; regional collaborative masterclasses and shadowing and development opportunities within the Council. 

    We encourage a Strength-Based leadership style in Blackburn with Darwen and expect our Leaders at all levels to embrace this way of working to promote positive behaviours within their teams. 

    Health and wellbeing is of primary importance also to the Council and we need our Leaders to model and promote a service that cares for individuals and others both in and out of the workplace. 

    Careers and Continuing Development