Current job title: Policy Advisor, Achievement and Disadvantage Unit, Department for Education
I applied to Frontline because I wanted to help people and I thought social work would give me the opportunity to reach the people most in need in our society.
On the programme, I learnt how to cope with a highly pressured environment, hold large amounts of responsibility and make tough, well thought out decisions. All the while, you are learning how to navigate a complex though often frustrating system.
I loved developing trusting relationships with people. Social workers are privileged to have an insight into people’s thoughts and feelings at the most difficult points in their lives. Seeing a parent work hard to change their situation and the effect this has on their child is incredibly rewarding. I also witnessed several women come out of abusive relationships and am proud to think that I helped them in some way. 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.
I am now working as a policy advisor for the Department for Education in a unit focusing on improving the educational achievement of disadvantaged groups. After Frontline, I wanted to take what I had learnt about the obstacles disadvantaged young people face and contribute to improving the services they access on a more systematic level.
As part of the Frontline Fellowship, I attended a seminar on emotional resilience which really helped me improve the way I deal with stress and emotional difficulty. During the innovation stream of the fellowship, we have brainstormed how social work practice can be improved. We have also had the chance to meet some really interesting people who have started their own initiatives, filling the gaps within social work provision.
Although I have left social work practice for now, the Fellowship has really helped me in my new role. I am able to take the policy reflections from seminars I have attended and keep these lessons in mind when devising policy.
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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.