Ola Wojnowska

Location: London
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.