Facing the world of impending adulthood whilst simultaneously attempting to find a career that somehow manages to be stimulating, challenging and enjoyable all at once can seem somewhat impossible as a rather clueless undergraduate. As the mounting pressure of finding the ‘right internship’ increased and the end of my second year at university loomed, I found myself growing increasingly anxious at the prospect of being left a) internship-less or b) being inundated with nothing but Excel spreadsheets for three weeks.
Thankfully, the opportunity to work as an intern with the External Relations team at Frontline came to my rescue. Having been drawn to social work as a potential career path to follow after graduating, I stumbled across the Frontline internship programme and could see that being involved with their team would be a fulfilling and unique opportunity for me to gain an immersive understanding of the work that they do on a daily basis: the somewhat clichéd goal I had always had of working in an environment that would impact the lives of those who need it most, suddenly seemed less unattainable.
A key focus of the tasks I was set during my time as an intern was reviewing Frontline’s current social media strategy and making suggestions as to how they could make better use of certain platforms. Having attended careers fairs at university which often left me feeling bombarded with information and brochures, it was really refreshing to apply my student-minded perspective to these tasks and consider how to change the pre-existing perceptions students and career changers alike may have about social work and the importance of the profession as a whole.
My experience as a Frontline intern has been entirely immersive and incredibly varied. I was truly spoilt by the range of opportunities I was presented with: one particular highlight was being involved in the planning for an event for Frontline’s supporters. What made it even more rewarding was that I was later able to directly see the efforts of individuals come together to result in such a successful event. I also interviewed care leavers about their experiences with Drive Forward, a charity which helps disadvantaged young people to find work experience and placements, whilst simultaneously working with them to improve their employability skills.
The diverse nature of Frontline’s work was made even clearer when I attended a mock unit meeting in which we were presented with the case of a 22 month old boy whose mother had a history of alcohol abuse: by being able to observe the difficult process by which social workers in a unit meeting come together to thoughtfully discuss these cases with tact and consideration, it became even more apparent to me that social workers need to be able to employ such a wide range of skills to transform the lives of both vulnerable children and their families.
Working with Frontline has provided me with a multitude of invaluable skills: through being given so many varying responsibilities I have learnt to be adaptable and to take initiative in the face of a task that may seem daunting or overwhelming. The incredible amount of independence I have been allowed to exercise when working on certain projects has also allowed me to learn how to better structure my time and utilise my skills, as well as encouraging me to think creatively.
Although I may have initially viewed internships as a box to tick on my CV, working with Frontline has been instrumental in changing my ideas about the working world. My fears of being trapped at a desk with nothing but mindless admin to do for three weeks were instantly dispersed, as I really felt like a valued member of a team that was working tirelessly to transform the lives of vulnerable children.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of working with Frontline is the constant reminder that every effort you contribute is ultimately going towards bettering the world of social work through training outstanding individuals and supporting them in the work that they do. For anyone who wants to be challenged and is passionate about working towards making improvements to the huge problems faced by some of the most at-risk young people in our society, I would urge you to apply for the Frontline internship programme.
Applications for our student internships open on 29 January 2018.