Studied: Natural Sciences (Physics), University of Cambridge
Was: Science teacher
Now: Newly qualified social worker, London
Before I joined Frontline, I was a science teacher. One day, when I had to break up a fight between two pupils – a 14 year old homeless boy and a pregnant girl – I realised I was trying to tackle their behaviour without dealing with the root cause of the problem. To really help children like them, I needed to be working in their homes alongside them and their parents. I needed to be a social worker.
When I was thinking about changing career, what helped me was thinking longer term about where I wanted to be, and what I wanted to help other people achieve – and I knew that Frontline was the way for me to do that.
As a social worker, you need to put yourself in other people’s shoes, to communicate with different people and get your message across, which is what you need to be a good leader. In a leadership role, whatever you’re doing, you’re always trying to bring about change in something, or lead a team to achieve a new vision, which is what you’re doing as a social worker with families. So when you’re learning to be a social worker, you’re learning to be a leader too.
There’s a real mix of people on the programme. There are some who’ve known they wanted to be a social worker for quite a long time, and there are more people like me, who hadn’t ever really considered social work, and then saw Frontline as a opportunity to make real change.
Everyone has a different story, but we all share a passion for helping vulnerable children and families. We’re all here for the same reason.
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I definitely feel like I’m part of a positive movement to change social work – and I’m thankful to be part of it.
I don’t know any other career where you can work in such a collaborative way with a child and their family.
What I enjoy most is that social work is just so interesting. Families are unique and fascinating and no two will ever be the same.
Everyone has a different story, but we all share a passion for helping vulnerable children and families.
I really enjoy getting to know families and building useful relationships with them.
I work with children within the criminal justice system and their families to reduce reoffending and manage their risk to themselves and others.
A unit is essentially a small, tight-knit team, with an experienced leader.
The programme is incredibly diverse and that’s one of the great things about Frontline and being a social worker.
I really enjoy having the opportunity to really help people. It’s the feedback from families and young people that keeps me going.
Doing the Frontline programme has given me a passion I didn’t know I had and has opened up a world of opportunities.
This programme has taught me much about myself and has allowed me to develop my own style of being a social worker, bringing in my own personality.
What I enjoy most about being a social worker – is the growth that I see and experience. I see growth in individuals and in families and I see growth in myself.
Prior to starting Frontline, I enjoyed a stimulating career as a teacher for 35 years. Frontline presented me with the opportunity to work with these young people at the other end of the school day, in their home and family.
Sometimes social work is about hard-fought but small successes, which although small can be really rewarding when they represent a shift in a family’s thinking or behaviour.