The Frontline Fellowship is a movement of outstanding individuals who are applying themselves to address social disadvantage in different ways, and who have all received training from Frontline. There are three routes into the Fellowship: completing the Frontline programme, completing one year as a consultant social worker and completing the Firstline programme.
The Fellowship is directed and led by Frontline fellows. To support the impact of fellows, we are committed to facilitating a selection of opportunities in the areas detailed below.
We continue to invest in the practice skills of fellows who remain in social work. This includes developing their direct work and leadership capabilities. We want to support fellows to constructively disrupt, innovate and challenge within their systems and beyond, to drive improvement. Excellent practice skills are essential for outstanding social workers, and we will continue to support fellows in the approaches in which we have trained them.
Frontline fellows have the skills and ability to positively influence policy for vulnerable children and families, and for the social work sector more broadly. We are interested in hearing suggestions for how we can support fellows to do so.
WHAT DOES THE FELLOWSHIP INVOLVE?
The Fellowship promotes a range of events and activities.
In 2018, these practice workshops have involved hosting a speaker to discuss contextual safeguarding. They were co-led by a Frontline fellow and a member of the Fellowship team, and delivered across the regions. In addition, a member of the team ran a number of policy workshops for fellows, exploring how they could push for change on a local and national level. In the past, we have also run innovation events for fellows, as well as a fellow-led policy workshop about tackling neglect.
We meet fellows individually to support them to have a positive impact on children and families. We also connect fellows with similar interests and provide opportunities to teach new cohorts on the Frontline programme.
WHAT KIND OF ROLES DO FELLOWS GO INTO?
We are committed to supporting the career journey of Frontline fellows and the majority of fellows continue to work in the social work profession. However, some fellows decide to move away from direct frontline practice where they can lead change in broader society.
After completing their respective programmes, Frontline fellows embark on a wide variety of roles. Those continuing in social work have moved into consultant social worker roles, specialist areas such as domestic violence, while others have completed further qualifications. Outside of direct child protection social work fellows have taken up roles with the Children’s Commissioner, the Anna Freud Centre, policy roles within the Department for Education, as well as joining the Frontline charity, to name a few.
HOW CAN THE FELLOWSHIP SUPPORT ME IN MY
SOCIAL WORK CAREER?
We support fellows to progress in their social work careers with a selection of workshops that focus on developing fellows’ practice and leadership skills. In addition to this, we support fellows to seek out advice and mentoring from others within the movement.
Want to find out more about the Fellowship? Hear from some of our fellows.
I got involved with the Fellowship because I got so much out of my experience with Firstline. I can confidently say I don’t think I would be a service manager today had it not been for the Firstline programme.
Firstline has helped me look at how I manage my staff. It’s helped me identify that whilst I’m good at managing performance I’m not great at interacting with extreme levels of emotions.
Sometimes social work is about hard-fought but small successes, which although small can be really rewarding when they represent a shift in a family’s thinking or behaviour.
Prior to starting Frontline, I enjoyed a stimulating career as a teacher for 35 years. Frontline presented me with the opportunity to work with these young people at the other end of the school day, in their home and family.
Through the Fellowship, I’ve been able to stay in touch with developments in the profession through the leadership series and develop my interviewing and assessment skills through work on the Frontline assessment centre.
The most important thing I learnt from the Frontline programme was the importance of building relationships with the families we work with.
With other fellows, I’ve been able to think about the scope for change and innovation in practice, policy and research across the sector.
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.
My time as a social worker has made me more adaptable, confident in my own judgements, calm in a crisis and able to prioritise effectively.
By far the biggest insight Firstline has given me is into my own behaviour and the way that I lead others and support the team.
Having a child confide in and trust you, and seeing them grow is also something that stays with you and gives you hope for the future.