As a medical student, I suppose I am not the average applicant for Frontline’s student internship. Over the last four years while studying medicine and a BSc in global health, I became increasingly interested in what was being done in the third sector to support the delivery of the interlinked services that make up the public sector.
My research directed me to various non-profits and charities that aim to facilitate social change through innovative schemes and entrepreneurship. Some offered summer internships, although few appeared to have the structure, great reviews and living wage offered by Frontline. Furthermore, the values of the organisation, including bravery, respect and innovation, really resonated with me and seemed to permeate every aspect of the work Frontline does.
The internship did not disappoint. As a member of the Fundraising and Events team, it was my job to assist in the coordination of social and networking events. In addition, I had to research and create a portfolio of potential funders, to ensure the continued existence of the charity. The amount of work involved in such tasks must not be underestimated. Lots of communication, particularly when liaising between several groups of people, and attention to every detail are essential.
Even the daily commute on the sweaty Central line was not sufficient to lower my mood, because the working environment in the Frontline office was a dream. Every morning I was greeted with a smile and a coffee. I was fortunate to engage with members of every team and learned how each contributes to the running of a successful charity. Everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful and I particularly enjoyed the competition between teams in organising the intern lunches – from history lessons to picnics in the beautiful parks of central London, they did not disappoint!
Learning opportunities were provided to develop our skill sets and answer any questions we had. These included instruction on how to improve our presentation abilitites and one-to-one career advice with senior members of staff. These sessions will no doubt prove invaluable in whatever path we pursue in the future. What’s more, we had the privilege of taking part in a mock unit meeting in which two practice tutors from the Frontline programme showed us how participants analyse and discuss real-life social work cases. This, coupled with a consultant social worker conference, highlighted both the difficulties social workers face and the passion of everyone involved with Frontline.
The Frontline internship, more than anything else, was an inspirational experience for me. In an increasingly tense political climate, it is refreshing to be reminded of those working hard to create positive social change within areas of the public sector. As a medic, my line of work involves regular engagement with the social care system and I have now experienced first-hand the benefit of programmes like those provided by Frontline. I feel reassured by my experiences and believe that a more effective social care system does not seem out of reach.