Trying to find a truly rewarding internship by slowly shuffling around careers fairs or trawling through websites can be a frustrating task. However, among the mass of schemes advertised, there was one that stood out immediately: Frontline’s internship programme. I wanted a chance to work in a stimulating environment that would help me develop new skills, as well as enhance existing ones, and interning at Frontline meant I could have all of this while working for an organisation that matched my values.
Frontline’s mission – to transform the lives of vulnerable children – is emblazoned across the wall in their head office; a constant reminder of the important work it does. The graduate scheme is an inspiring opportunity to directly help families that need support and to have the chance to contribute to that mission through the Frontline internship was something I really wanted to take advantage of.
One experience that will stay with me from the internship was a mock ‘unit meeting’ held in the first week of my internship. Frontline participants (and many other social workers) have unit meetings once a week, where four social workers and their consultant social worker get together to discuss the different cases they are handling at the time. Our mock unit meeting – held to help us gain an understanding of what social workers do day-to-day – was run by a Frontline Specialist, an experienced social worker, who led us through a real-life scenario involving a vulnerable child. Learning about the complications of child protection – in this case discussing how best to support an unborn child and his/her mum and dad – was an inspiring insight into what social work involves. The fact that the Frontline head office staff each take part in regular mock unit meetings demonstrates how the organisation never lets itself lose sight of its purpose.
One part of the job that helped me understand the programme more was the chance to interview both a current Frontline participant, soon to be a fully qualified social worker, and an upcoming participant. I was then able to write two separate articles based on these interviews, one of which went on the Frontline website while the other went in the new recruitment brochure.
Other projects I was given during the internship included working within a group developing a website for the new scheme Firstline, which is a separate social work programme being developed by a team within Frontline. Web design was something I had effectively no experience of before, so to learn about something new was a great opportunity and a sign of the willingness the Frontline office had to give me new challenges.
I also prepared a calendar of social activities for those who will be on the Summer Institute, which is the intensive five week residential course that marks the start of the Frontline programme. Overall, the projects I was able to be involved in throughout the internship were extremely varied and meant that each day was different – something that friends of mine in other internships were very jealous of.
When I joined the Frontline office, I immediately felt welcome and part of a fast-growing team with a relentless positive energy. By the time I left, I felt even closer aligned to Frontline’s values, while I had also personally developed skills that I can apply in a wide range of scenarios – whether that is on the Frontline graduate programme or elsewhere. If you want an internship where you can contribute to a great cause while learning a huge amount along the way, then Frontline is definitely for you.
Applications for our student internships open on 29 January 2018.