Frontline fellow, North West

Before starting the Frontline programme I was working as a teaching assistant. I enjoyed it, but I preferred the pastoral side of my role, and found that the opportunities I had to effect change were limited. I chose to apply to Frontline to work with children and their families in the hope that I could work with them to achieve some positive change.

So far I have learnt a huge amount, about social work practice, about how resilient people are, about the theories we use to guide our work, and about myself. I have had opportunities to work with families through complex situations; to experience the legal arena which surrounds social work; and to see the incredible strength that people are able to draw on when times are difficult.

I really enjoy getting to know families and building useful relationships with them. It is a real privilege to be allowed into anyone’s home, even when you are having challenging conversations. It is incredibly rewarding to see families make changes that they want to make and see them reap the benefits having been able to do this.

My most rewarding experience has been seeing a very small baby boy placed with his uncles. His mother was upset that he would not return to her care but had stated that she thought her uncles would be the best person to care for her child. Equally, the uncles were evidently overwhelmed and thrilled to have the opportunity to care for this young man. It was so rewarding to be involved in a process that, though not perfect, had such a positive outcome for this baby.

Throughout the programme and my time at the local authority where I work, I have been amazed by how even the busiest people have found time to share their ideas or provide me with support. I am so glad that I decided to apply and feel like I did so at the right time, as I’ve gotten so much out of the programme. It is by no means easy, but learning to juggle a new role with academic work is worthwhile to get hands on experience of such a challenging career.

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