Ryan Wise

Social worker, Newham

I knew I wanted to work with children and families, and Frontline appealed to me as an exciting way to get into social work. I was drawn to the idea of working at the same time as studying, the opportunities to progress and the leadership element. The masters was also a huge appeal, as well as the focus on practice skill and how we do social work, as opposed to bureaucracy.

On the programme, I developed my understanding of leadership. When I came into the programme I had a very linear, authoritarian view of leadership and I didn’t really understand the complexity of the word and what it means in practice. I’ve become more adaptable and more reflective in terms of how I work – not just with families but with colleagues. A lot of leadership isn’t about making tough decisions, it’s about learning from and utilising others and working in partnership with people to get the best out of them. I have also improved my emotional resilience and ability to manage the difficulties of being a social worker. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about myself, not to sound too cheesy!

The Fellowship has played a big part in my continued development as a practitioner and leader. There have been many different opportunities and you get lots of support – I have taught on the Frontline programme, run a workshop, met with journalists, spoken with a CEO over coffee and begun to develop two innovative ideas. It helps me consider how I can contribute outside of my day-to-day job.

Having completed the Frontline programme I have remained in social work and the support through the Fellowship has helped me progress professionally. As a social worker, you try and help make changes to the lives of families and children so they can reach their potential, so they can succeed regardless of what’s happened to them in the past. I think every child has the talent to do well and succeed. If I can change their lives in any way so they can do that, then that’s what I want to do, and I think social work is the best way to achieve that.