A social work employer has made the prestigious Times Top 100 graduate employers list for the first time as fast track scheme Frontline is today awarded 76th place.
The scheme, which aims to get high achieving graduates into social work, has been met with some controversy since it was announced, as it ‘fast tracks’ its participants through an intensive five week training course before launching them into practice, with a particular focus on child protection.
Coming in 76th puts Frontline ahead of private sector employers including Santander and Lloyds, law firm Hogan Lovell and EDF energy. The list is based on open ended interview questions with 18,336 UK graduates who left university in 2014. Last year 76th place was taken by media giant Channel 4.
But the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) questions whether Frontline can be said to count as a social work employer. BASW chief executive Bridget Robb said: “It is a curious paradox that Frontline and Teach First can describe themselves as employers within the scope of the Times 100 graduate employers. The fact is that Frontline has the money to be able to ’employ’ their graduates whereas other Masters programmes which are equally attractive to students do not have this luxury.
“So while this is an accolade for Frontline, it is also portrays a severe distortion of the realities of the entry routes for graduates into social work education,” she said.
A spokesperson for Frontline said: “In a market dominated by banks, law firms, consultancies and blue chip companies, over a period of 10 years Teach First has taken teaching up to number two in the league table. Frontline has now placed social work alongside teaching, the civil service and MI5 as an attractive career in public service.”
Frontline’s chief executive Josh MacAlister said: “This is an exciting day for Frontline. We are working to attract the best and brightest into a profession which can transform the lives of children and families. Our place in the Times Top 100 demonstrates that the best graduates are motivated by the rewards of a job with social purpose.”
Applications for Frontline’s 2015 cohort are now open.