Frontline has provided a varied, dynamic and challenging model of practice with families, which has impacted positively on the development of the students, managers and practitioners within the teams.
Oldham have been working with Frontline for just over two years. The first cohort of Frontline programme participants are just coming to the end of their first year as qualified social workers. The partnership with Frontline has strengthened over time and has been mutually beneficial, both to the local authority and organisation. The collaborative approach in supporting students through their training in practice and the formal learning through the programme has been a huge learning experience. We have worked together through operational challenges with placements and addressed the needs of Oldham by exploring ways to increase diversity within the student cohort.
Frontline has provided a varied, dynamic and challenging model of practice with families, which has impacted positively on the development of the students, managers and practitioners within the teams. The training opportunity for the consultant social worker has been excellent and the professional development, confidence and dedication within this role over the two years has been recognised and praised within the service. The Frontline programme participants (now practitioners) have been praised at senior management level for the quality of their work with families, their positive professional approach and impressive communication skills.
We are now planning for our third cohort and have appointed another consultant social worker who is keen to embrace Frontline’s programme and looking forward to managing the student hub.
We have also had two cohorts of managers participate in the Firstline programme. Managers have positively received and valued the whole experience, from the assessment process through to the formal learning and participation in the programme. It has provided managers with an opportunity to explore different methods and techniques within their leadership and management styles and has focussed on them
as individuals, looking at their individual attributes, knowledge and skills.
It has been both supportive and challenging, which has enabled and stretched their learning and development. This has been of benefit to social workers within their teams, as they can utilise coaching techniques within supervision, which has been one of the key learning outcomes. A significant observation from our principal social worker has been the development in confidence of the managers, evidence within presentations of how their confidence has grown and a recognition and self-belief in their knowledge and skills, which can often be
overlooked at this level.