Frontline’s promotional website material questions perpectives photo: via

On the Frontline

Jasmine Wark talks about one of the most exciting graduate schemes of 2013

It is once again that time of year when a general air of panic hits all of the finalists when they realise they have no idea whether they want to be an accountant or a zoologist once they graduate. The best thing to do if you are in this situation is – open your mind! Frontline is a fantastic opportunity. It is a social work organisation which came to the Inspire Careers Fair on Tuesday 8th October. Their Recruitment Director, Katie Purser, met with Boar reporter Jasmine Wark to explain what exciting graduate opportunities they offer.

 Frontline’s logo photo: via

Frontline’s logo photo: via

A career to consider: Social Work
A social worker has a very varied set of roles; different ones are acquired each day to suit each individual need of the people who they are helping. For instance, a social worker could be involved in any of the following:

1. Conducting interviews to assess family situations
2. Giving counselling support
3. Holding meetings regarding, for example, mental health issues or child protection
4. Writing reports for legal action
5. Giving evidence in court

Social work can be stressful and emotional, due to the nature of the problems you are dealing with. However, it is known to be highly rewarding as you can see daily the positive results of helping others. It is also important to truly care about everyone you are helping, in order to make them feel like you want to make a difference and are not just doing as you are told.
This kind of work is not a highly marketed profession around campus, or to students in general. Yet it is frequently in the news, as social workers become involved with various scandals. They also work with people from all parts of society: people with mental health conditions, drug abusers, the homeless and young offenders, amongst other people.

What is Frontline?
On their website, Frontline sums up their mission as:
“To transform the lives of vulnerable children by recruiting and developing outstanding individuals to be leaders in social work and broader society.”
So, much like Teach First, they want to renovate a flagging profession through employing dynamic high achievers. Founded by Josh MacAlister in 2012, it is quickly gaining a name as bringing big changes into the social work industry.

Why is it getting so much media attention?
Frontline has had countless articles, both in support and criticism, written about them. This is because their approach to social work is deemed controversial and insulting to existing structures such as Master’s in Social Work offered at universities.
Furthermore, the fact that it is trying to make changes in such an important sector is making it very popular. The average person may not realise how much good work a social worker can do to people in need. Statistics included on the Frontline website are shocking:

1. Over half of girls in young offenders institutes have spent time in care (NACRO 2011)
2. Children in need are almost 4 times less likely to achieve 5 A*-C including English and Maths (UK GOV 2012)
3. Looked after children are twice as likely to not be in education, employment or training (UK GOV 2012)
4. Almost a third of the homeless population were in care at some point in their lives (Barnardos 2012)
5. 6 percent of care leavers go to University compared to 38 percent of all young people (UK GOV 2011)

What kind of people are they looking for?
Frontline is looking for graduates of any discipline and degree subject. It also hopes to open up social work to people who would not have otherwise considered social work as a career choice.

How does the scheme work?
It takes a unit approach to training, putting the recruits into teams of four which are supervised by a senior social worker. These teams are put straight on the job after training and work cases together, therefore using each other as a system of support and learning. Each new recruit is placed in either Greater Manchester or London for two years whilst they are training. At the end of two years, they have achieved a Master’s in social work and are a fully qualified social worker, and are then free to go and get a job elsewhere.

Who is behind it?
Frontline has received support from countless different groups, individuals and organisations, including the big three political parties. Most notably, Lord Adonis, Holly Branson and Princess Beatrice have all helped promote the cause in the media. It is also endorsed by NSPCC, Teach-First and Linkedin. With such powerful names vocally supporting its cause, it has quickly gained national media attention.

How can you get involved?
Applications for the 2014 cohort are due to close on the November, 30; it will however will close early if they fill all of their spaces prior to this. The application process includes an online form, a suitability test, a verbal reasoning test and an assessment centre.
Why should you get involved?
Social work is a worthwhile and rewarding profession. It relies upon many transferable skills such as leadership and teamwork. It is a different experience for graduates than the standard office job, and so is a great option for someone who wants to try something different. Also, Frontline is unique in placing recruits straight onto the job after an intense five week training period, so the recruits gain a completely different approach to their job. The emphasis, though, should be placed on INTENSE – to be ready for such an emotionally charged job after a short period of training requires an impressive level of resilience and enthusiasm!

What’s in the future for Frontline?
Frontline has guaranteed funding for two cohorts of one hundred recruits, one to start in 2014 and one to start in 2015.

Find more information on their website and twitter feed: @frontlinesw


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