Frontline programme participant, London
When I applied for Frontline I was in my final year of university studying French and Italian. I hadn’t considered social work as a career but after attending a Frontline event, I was shocked at how much becoming a children’s social worker seemed to fit with what I wanted to do. The further I got with the application process the more I realised I wanted to do it.
When I joined the Frontline programme I didn’t really know what to expect, partly because you don’t really learn what the day to day is actually like unless you know someone who is a social worker. I was excited by the prospect of working directly with children and families, but also nervous about doing a job that has traditionally had such stigma surrounding it.
I work in a busy inner London borough and I like that I can relate to some of the experiences that people have had who live here. I have worked with a range of professionals; teachers, doctors, police officers, lawyers and more, which has expanded my knowledge and given me greater confidence in different areas of social work.
My favourite thing about being a social worker has to be direct work with children and building relationships with families. I have worked with children of varying ages, from babies to 17 year olds, and love being able to work creatively to adapt what I do to each individual child. I really appreciated going straight into practice after the Summer Institute, because learning on the job has allowed me to embed the theory into practice.
My most rewarding experience was getting a thank you card from a teenage girl on my final visit. When I first started working with her she really didn’t want to work with me and didn’t see the point in having a social worker. Over time, we built a really good relationship to the point where she would tell me things she said she struggled to vocalise to anyone else. Giving me a card was her way of saying that she appreciated the work I had done with her and that it had helped her, which is always the aim.
If I was speaking to someone who was thinking of applying, I would say go for it! It is a brilliant learning experience. You learn so much, not just about working with people but also about yourself. Doing the Frontline programme has given me a passion I didn’t know I had and has opened up a world of opportunities.