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From brand manager to employment in the third sector

Francesca will be answering your questions about the brand manager role in a live Q&A at 4pm on Wednesday 16 May. Click here to take part.

Throughout my time at the University of Leeds I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Like many of my friends, my summer jobs consisted of restaurant work and retail. I knew I wanted to help people and have a positive impact on society but other than that I felt clueless and frankly, a little lost. In a desperate attempt to find direction I signed up for a university careers fair. The sports hall was packed with loads of other students in the same position, everyone was anxiously signing up for graduate schemes and internships. I saw a sign with a picture of a social worker; written on it was: “At least half a million children in England don’t have a safe or stable home”.

The Frontline stall stood out to me, with the powerful photos and shocking message. Social work wasn’t something I knew much about. After chatting to the brand manager for a few minutes I was sold. Young people need our support, especially those who have complicated backgrounds. I was only in second year and still unsure if I was confident enough to become a social worker but I knew that I wanted to be a part of Frontline. So I decided to apply for the brand manager role.

The application process was very different to the formal interviews I had been to before. When I was invited to the head office in London I was really nervous. They asked me to produce a presentation with ideas on how to attract students to apply to Frontline. I had so many ideas about societies, locations and events at my university, I was just hoping they would be good enough to get me through. Luckily they were.

My final year at university as a brand manager was a bit of a whirlwind. I organised events, spoke to hundreds of people and strongly believed in the message I was spreading. It was an amazing feeling to meet people like me, who were looking for a bit of inspiration to decide what to do after university. The university bubble came to an end, I handed in my dissertation, finished my exams and went travelling. Motivated by the levels of austerity and cuts to social care funds, I applied for a masters and was accepted at UCL to study for an MSc in Public Policy.

I sent about 25 job applications when I arrived in London: internships with MPs, administration jobs and almost anything that was in the third sector. I had almost given up on my aspiration to live in London, then I came across an advertisement for a job at the Frontline head office. I applied, got an interview and was rejected. I know what you’re thinking – savage! Luckily I had performed well and was appointable. The manager who interviewed me passed on my details to another department and a week later I was called by my current boss and offered a job.

My time at Frontline has been a learning curve to say the least. Although I have my day to day duties, I am encouraged to start projects of my own, shadow other teams and manage my own workload. Everyone in the organisation is passionate about the cause and open to new ideas. We are all united by one common goal: wanting to improve the lives of vulnerable children.

My journey with Frontline is nowhere near over. I plan to base my MSc thesis on interviews with the consultant social workers I work with, and hopefully I can continue working to support young people throughout my career. Being a brand manager was the first step in working out what I wanted to achieve and I have Frontline to thank for that.

Applications for our brand manager roles are now open. Find out more and apply here.