Thousands of top graduates apply to new social work programme

17th March 2014

Speaking at the official launch of Frontline’s latest social work film, Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove MP, alongside Lord Andrew Adonis, will welcome that – in just two months – 2,684 graduates applied to join Frontline’s new children’s social work leadership programme.

With 25 graduates applying for every place, Frontline has emerged as one of the most competitive graduate schemes in the UK. By demonstrating that social work is a highly-skilled leadership profession that transforms lives, Frontline is beginning to change perceptions of social work among the best and brightest graduates. Of the near 3,000 students who completed a social work masters in 2011/12, only 270 were from Russell Group universities. By contrast, 1,272 Russell Group graduates applied to join Frontline’s first cohort. Furthermore, just 10 Oxbridge graduates started social work in 2011/12, whilst 184 have applied to Frontline.

Frontline has also demonstrated its ability to attract a diverse cohort. While the large majority of social workers in Britain are female (82%), 1 in 4 Frontline participants are male. Meanwhile, 16% of the Frontline cohort are from ethnic minority backgrounds and 15% of the intake indicated that they had received Free School Meals.

Coinciding with World Social Work day, Frontline’s new film showcases the life-changing impact an outstanding social worker can have and highlights the need for more outstanding graduates to join the profession. The film features care leavers and children’s social workers telling their own stories in their own words, and can now be viewed on Frontline’s website and Youtube channel.

More than 100 graduates have passed Frontline rigorous four-stage selection process including an assessment centre where they were faced with real life social work situations played by professional actors. Those who have made the grade will begin an intensive five-week Summer Institute in July followed by two years working with Frontline’s local authority partners across Greater London and Greater Manchester.

Education Secretary, Michael Gove:
“Our support for Frontline reflects our determination to attract the highest calibre candidates to become social workers for children. I congratulate them in attracting so many top graduates to this visionary scheme.”

Lord Adonis, Frontline Chair:
“I am pleased to announce that, in its first year, Frontline received 2,684 applications for 100 places on its new children’s social work programme. This a remarkable achievement and begins to address the challenge that social work has faced in attracting the best and the brightest. I applaud those who have applied and congratulate those who have been successful. I am confident that participants will make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children and families in Greater London and Greater Manchester.”

Josh MacAlister, Frontline’s Chief Executive:
“Over the past six months, since the official launch of Frontline, our focus has been on attracting and selecting outstanding graduates to undertake one of Britain’s toughest and most rewarding jobs. Social work should rightly be seen as a prestigious leadership profession where you can bring about real change with families. I look forward to welcoming our first cohort to the Summer Institute in July.” 

Sam Branson, Chairman of Sundog Pictures:
“As soon as Frontline approached us to work with them on this exciting project, we knew it was a good fit. Sundog is committed to telling stories that help inspire people to make more of their world and have a positive impact. We encourage people to watch and share Frontline’s new film.”

Francis Goodburn, an Oxford final year student who has been offered a place on the programme:
“The two things I most want from a job are to know what I am doing is truly worthwhile and to take on varied, challenging work every day. With this in mind, social work seems like a fantastic career choice. I’m particularly excited about Frontline’s model of on-the-job training, and learning leadership skills that could help me make a difference to the lives of children and families. Having now secured a place on the Frontline programme, I’m looking forward to embarking on a career I may not otherwise have had the opportunity to do.”