Holly Branson, Founder of Big Change Charitable Trust, spoke today at Frontline’s launch. Here, she discusses her experiences shadowing children’s social workers and why her organisation is supporting Frontline
Social workers do one of the most important jobs in society – they support children at times when they need it most in a way that can make a difference between a child reaching their potential and not.
Big Change founders and I have seen first hand in the last few months the incredible effect that good social workers can have on the lives of the people they work with. In one London Borough we visited, we met a social worker who has worked with a young girl for nearly four years. After years of adversity, loss and trauma, she, initially rejected support and turned to gangs to sooth her distress. She now welcomes the help she receives from the social work system, is happier about herself, has safe relationships, is living independently studying a-levels and is planning to go to university next year. This would never have happened without the help of her very dedicated social worker.
We set up Big Change Charitable Trust to support organisations that will make a real difference to young people’s lives, by finding innovative solutions to difficult social problems. In Frontline we believe we’ve found the perfect partner. Their hands on approach to recruiting and educating graduates for a challenging and rewarding career in social work will benefit disadvantaged children in the UK.
All of us at Big Change believe that Frontline is a great step in reinforcing social work as a career choice for top graduates. We believe Frontline will echo the success of Teach First – and will retain graduates beyond the first couple of years – which is so important.
Social work is not a role that many graduates consider, and I, for one, was never aware, either in sixth form or at University, of social work as a career option. Given that social work needs the best people and that the profession is on the official shortage occupation list – this has to change.
Frontline’s approach of recruiting high-achieving university leavers and career changers to join their new two-year graduate leadership programme, will achieve this change.
As I witnessed great social workers make a real difference to young people’s lives.
Are you up for the job?
Holly Branson is a Founder of Big Change Charitable Trust. Big Change Charitable Trust is a Founding Partner of Frontline.
Photograph: Ewan Shears