Yuan Mao interviews Frontline’s Recruitment Director, Katie Purser to get an insight into how socially minded graduate programmes have evolved.
Can you tell me about what Frontline does and why its work is important?
Katie Purser (KP):“Over half a million children in the UK are in need of great social workers on a daily basis. Without their help, the odds are against them: almost a third of the homeless population and a quarter of the adult prison population were in care at some point in their lives.
Frontline is a new scheme to get outstanding graduates into one of Britain’s toughest professions, child protection social work. We believe that no child’s background should determine what outcomes are in life. Our programme enables individuals to train on the job whilst being paid, undertaking direct work with children and families that will change lives.
We believe leadership is key for social work, so our programme is an excellent opportunity for graduates that have aspirations to move into positions of leadership and take responsibility throughout their careers. As such we offer a bespoke leadership development-training programme to really ensure people can have a transformational impact, which includes the opportunity to gain a fully-funded Master’s qualification. So Frontline participants, having completed the programme, can become leaders and drive change in both social work and broader society.”
What impact can participants on the Frontline programme have?
KP: “With Frontline you can have a transformational impact on the lives of vulnerable people, most specifically children in care. Whilst a teacher can help them during the day, when a child goes home in the evening or at the weekend without clear structure and support from supportive adult role models, it can really disadvantage a child. So I think the opportunity with Frontline and what it can do in terms of developing individuals on our programme, who really believe in these young people, and want to help them change and enable them to achieve their goals, that to me is a really important proposition, and something that is vital for ensuring more equal outcomes in society. Because our participants are placed in the same local authority for the two years in areas where the demand for life changing professionals is greatest, they can also really see impact they’re having.”
How have socially minded graduate programmes evolved?
KP: “Social impact careers are a huge opportunity for students these days. My own background is with Teach First, which I really rate. When I was on the scheme, it was one of the few graduate opportunities available to someone looking to have a career with real social purpose.
But this has changed massively in the past few years. Now there are whole host of schemes which are bringing top graduates into public services careers; Police Now, Think Ahead, Frontline and now Unlocked are all offering a great chance for people to have a life changing impact on vulnerable individuals in society. We’ve definitely seen a shift towards graduates looking for a rewarding career, this is clearly demonstrated by the fact that Teach First and Frontline have both been recognised as top 50 graduate employers, according to the prestigious Times Top 100 list for 2016-17.
I think the reason why these programmes have become so popular is that they have great training, they’re often paid, and you can have a really direct positive impact on people, particularly upon those in most need. There are also transferable skills that you can gain that will enable you to access lots of opportunities in the future, which can be deployed to other fields.”
Frontline’s graduate programme is a great opportunity for UCL students who want a career where they can really make a difference. Interested students can get in-touch online at www.thefrontline.org.uk.
Image Credit: Frontline, Summer 2016