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.