Frontline Programme

Be the difference on our two-year programme for outstanding graduates and career changers

Your Frontline journey

Across the country, there are many children and families facing challenges that often seem too great to overcome. Outstanding social workers have the power to transform their life chances.

During our intensive two-year programme, you will develop the skills needed to be the difference for the most disadvantaged in society.

The summer institute

Five weeks of intensive residential training at the University of Warwick will build the foundations of the knowledge and skills required for your local authority placement. The summer institute runs from mid-July to mid-August.

Year 1 of the programme

Frontline participants work in a local authority in units, usually of four, supported and led by an experienced social worker. You’ll also receive regular visits from your practice tutor, whilst working towards the first 120 credits of your master’s degree.

Year 2 of the programme

You’ll be a newly qualified social worker employed in children’s services by your local authority and supported to hold your own caseload. You’ll continue working towards a Master’s Degree in Advanced Relationship Based Social Work Practice.

Leadership development

Good social work involves a range of leadership behaviours. We focus in some detail on developing these leadership abilities throughout the Frontline programme and offer coaching in year 2 to further develop your social work leadership skills.

The local authorities we work with

We partner with a range of local authorities across England.


By completing our programme you will automatically join the Frontline Fellowship: a movement of individuals who are applying themselves to address social disadvantage in different ways. You will continue to be inspired and supported by a community of like-minded fellows who are working to pursue wider social justice and change for vulnerable children and families.


Our policy documents contain the terms and conditions for Frontline participants.

Why social work?

Each year in England alone, over 700,000 children rely on the support of social workers. These children, and their families, face some of the worst life chances. We believe it’s time for change.  

Children, young people and their families need support when they are going through difficult times. You’ll work directly with the most disadvantaged in society and empower them to bring about positive change in their lives. 

During your training, you’ll develop a range of skills, including relationship-building, conflict resolution and leadership. You will receive high quality supervision and training from experienced social workers, academics and professional coaches. 

 For the most disadvantaged, receiving support from a social worker can make a significant difference to the direction their lives take. Join us on the Frontline programme and that difference could be you. 




We all rely on others for help and support sometimes. Together we can achieve social change for children who don’t have a safe or stable home. 



 You will earn while you study to become a qualified social worker and achieve a fully funded master’s degree. In year 1 you will receive a tax and NI exempt bursary of £18,000 or £20,000 in London. This is equivalent to a salary of £21,000 or £24,000. 

As a newly qualified social worker in year 2, you will earn a salary between £25k and £34k depending on local authority and location. 



In the first year of the programme, you’ll work on real life cases in small groups, led by an experienced social worker. Working as a team, you will help each other to develop and succeed, with additional support from your practice tutor.

During your second year, you’ll receive continued support from your practice tutor and local authority, along with professional coaching to develop your leadership skills.



You will benefit from high quality supervision  and training from experienced social workers, academics and professional coaches. In your two year placement in a local authority children’s services you will hone and develop these skills on the job. 



You’ll work with and advise a wide range of professionals in health, education, the criminal justice system and beyond to bring about positive change in the lives of disadvantaged children and families.



After you complete the Frontline programme you will become part of the Fellowship, a movement of outstanding individuals who are applying themselves to address social disadvantage. 

Being part of the Fellowship offers the chance to connect, learn and collaboratively create positive change for children and families with over a thousand fellows across the country. 


We are looking for individuals commited to making a difference for disadvantaged children and families. Like social work itself, the Frontline programme is both intellectually and emotionally challenging.

During the selection process, we will be looking for evidence of the following competencies, as well as good time management and professional conduct.


We are looking for people who want to work closely with children and families to keep them safe, healthy and happy.


You need to be able to actively identify your strengths and weaknesses in a given situation and the impact these have on yourself and others.


Social work is intellectually and emotionally challenging. You need to demonstrate the capacity to overcome adversity and be creative when working through challenges.

Effective communication

Good social workers will communicate professionally, flexibly and intuitively with children, families, colleagues and many other external stakeholders. You must demonstrate a range of effective communication, including verbal, non-verbal and written.

Empathy and relationships

Being able to recognise and understand different emotional states and any associated behaviours is very important. You should be able to respond with empathy whilst remaining professional.

Analysis and adaptability

Social work practice is very complicated and time-pressured. We are looking for people who can identify risks and key points from lots of information and critically evaluate a range of possibilities.


Social workers empower and support families and children to affect positive change. You will act as an advocate for the children and families you work with, recognising and understanding many different viewpoints. You will have the confidence to make difficult decisions in the face of opposition, while maintaining an open mind about unfolding events. You will demonstrate the ability to negotiate, influence and inspire others in a respectful and humble manner to reach a positive outcome.

Participants’ stories

For those of us who have never experienced social work first hand, it can be difficult to imagine what a social worker does. Read our participants’ stories to find out more about the role and learn about the difference you could make on the Frontline programme.

  • Durham is a fantastic place to live and work. I’ve got a first-hand understanding of how people have grown up and the different challenges of being northern.
  • Frontline participant, Jess
    I always thought that I would become a teacher, but as time went by I realised that teaching wasn’t pastoral enough for me.
  • Frontline fellow, Rahim
    You never know what aspect of yourself families will respond to. Diversity gives us the opportunity to learn more about people and to share this understanding with our colleagues.
  • Frontline fellow, Josh
    When I started the Frontline programme, I had no idea how varied the job of a field social worker was and how many different ‘hats’ social workers need to wear.

Application process


Take our self-selection quiz to learn about the role and find out if the Frontline programme is the right fit for you.

We are committed to selecting people who have the potential to complete our intensive two-year programme and be successful in social work and beyond.

In order to apply for the programme you will need to meet our eligibility requirements.


Take a look at our programme policies to learn more about how the programme works.


Got a question about the Frontline programme?


Want to find out more about being a social worker or the Frontline programme? Sign up for one of our online events.

Check out Frontline’s latest news and blogs, and see where we’ve been featured in the press.