Name: Michaela Berry
Current job title: Practice Supervisor
I joined the Firstline programme because I felt like it was time that I challenged myself and wanted to think more about my career moving forward.
I have become much more reflective and reflexive about my leadership abilities as a result of the programme. I am more mindful of and confident in areas where I have leadership abilities and have a clearer idea of where I need to develop my skills. I feel that I have been given the opportunity to begin to work on these areas and plan to further develop these moving forward.
It’s been great to have an extended period of time, with like-minded people and excellent support to learn, reflect on, and practice leadership skills. It has felt like a safe environment to step out of my comfort zone and have a go at things I would usually avoid. This has been challenging but also very rewarding and has increased my confidence.
All of the information delivered, practice sessions and one-to-one sessions on the programme are very relevant to the daily challenges of a leader in social care. Instant results can be seen, whether it’s communicating in a different way, reframing information or giving more positive feedback.
The most rewarding experience has been realising that being a leader can fit exactly with the values and reasons that made you want to be a social worker in the first place. Empowering people and listening to their views is just as relevant in leadership as it is in front line practice. It seems obvious now, but before I did this programme I was struggling to see how my role as a practice supervisor was similar to the role of being a social worker.
The Firstline programme has challenged my views of social work management entirely, and I am now enjoying my role much more. I already had some good leadership skills, but I now have the tools to develop them further, and am able to make the links between developing others, challenging and giving positive feedback, and the outcomes and experiences of the children and families that we work with.
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I received coaching from Hazel Hyslop during my second year of Frontline, and I am pleased to say that I found it so helpful that I continue to see her now.
Having a child confide in and trust you, and seeing them grow is also something that stays with you and gives you hope for the future.
With other fellows, I’ve been able to think about the scope for change and innovation in practice, policy and research across the sector.
The Firstline programme has challenged my views of social work management entirely, and I am now enjoying my role much more.
I joined the Firstline programme because I was looking for something that would challenge me both professionally and personally.
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.
Leadership is important to my work because it helps to define acceptable behaviours and is an opportunity to role model to staff with varying levels of experience.
Leadership is not just about making the best of what we are presented with. It is about asking the question – what could different look like?
I decided to apply to the Undergraduate Taster Day because I wanted to ensure that I had as much information about the Frontline programme as possible before I applied.