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Frontier Staff Feedback

Luke McMillan

UK Recruitment Manager

August 2014-July 2015

The last year has been a whirlwind. I was installed as the UK Recruitment Manager having come from a predominantly research background, however, Frontier is an organisation that I have always wanted to work for since volunteering on the Madagascar Marine project in 2002. I wanted the opportunity to do my bit for an organisation I was proud to previously volunteer for, and one which is achieving great things around the world.

My role has covered managing a team of Volunteer Advisors and Events Managers, and we have had a tremendously successful year, visiting hundreds of schools and universities and interviewing hundreds of new volunteers who are going out into the field, helping us to fulfil our obligations, globally.

The benefit for anyone undertaking a role at Frontier is the amount of responsibility you are given from an early stage. This helps you to learn fast, and have a pivotal role within the organisation; this is experience that you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. The support network at Frontier is also unlike any I have experienced – the days can be tough – but knowing that you have a team of dedicated people around you, who are willing to do what it takes to support you and help you out, is truly invaluable.

If you put the work in, you can carve out a real legacy for yourself, whether it be in the way that you manage a successful team, set up a new volunteer project, or simply to encourage everyone around you with your enthusiasm.

David Ramsey

Overseas Operations Manager

April 2013 – July 2015

I began at Frontier in April 2013 as Overseas Operations Officer. Primarily I was responsible for the recruitment, training and support for our staff members, both in the field and the office. By 2014 I had worked my way up to Overseas Operations Manager. Being given this opportunity was not something I could have envisioned when I first walked through the door!

My job included managing the day to day operations and recruitment of all of our Group projects, and developing new projects and ideas. The role has been immensely valuable, interesting, challenging and never dull.

Frontier’s LHQ is a great place to work. Everyone has a passion for conservation, development and travel and this is what keeps you going during the busier times!

The main lasting impression that I will take away from my Frontier experience comes from the people I have met, managed and worked with. Frontier is staffed by an incredible team which is spread around the world. These are dedicated, talented and passionate people and they do what they do for exactly the right reasons. It has been a privilege to work with them all. If you want a regular 9-5 and an easy life - Frontier is not for you – what makes this place great is the dedication and the organisations refusal to rest on its laurels. We are always looking to develop new projects, try different systems or approaches. You will be given the opportunity to really manage your projects and leave a lasting legacy – far sooner than you will anywhere else.

Unfortunately I am moving on but the past 2 and a bit years will stay with me forever, the lessons learned, skills developed and friendships made make this a real wrench for me to leave.

Nanna Påskesen

Online Content Editor

July 2014 – July 2015

Wow, my year here at Frontier as the Online Content Editor has swooped by so fast – but I guess when you are having a good time, days go by quicker. Starting out as an Online Media Intern in the summer between my second and third year at University, I developed a great relationship with the organisation, it’s missions and purpose and of course the amazing staff. By the time my internship was over, I knew that working in the N.G.O and charity sector was my call!

When I finished University I saw that the Online Content Editor staff role was up for grabs, so I went for it and was welcomed back with open arms and cheers from the team that are just the most fun, driven, passionate and friendliest people in the world. The people here are a very special, young, talented and like-minded group and they really do make the ‘Frontier Experience’.  In my role I was able to take on new developments, projects and responsibilities and that creative freedom has made my time here invaluable. I feel confident and prepared to take on any new challenges in the future and I have just learned so much that has made me grow both personally and professionally. We work hard at Frontier, but you do really get that essential strong build-up you need for your future career, so it’s all worth it.

Frontier is a vibrant office and I am so sad to leave the Frontier family – it’s been great to get to know people who have the same motivation towards making a difference as I do, I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch to share 5 days a week with. I will miss you all so much! 

Sarah More

Volunteer Coordinator

February 2014 – June 2015

It is easy to say that the period of time that I spent at Frontier has been full of challenges, surprises and laughter. Having spent 6 months as an intern, to then be offered the position of Volunteer Coordinator felt like a natural progression. I have gained so much invaluable experience from my role, which I know will put me in good stead when applying for future jobs. The friendships that I've made will be life long and made Frontier so much more than just a work place.

Gareth Roberts

Volunteer Advisor

November 2012 – January 2014

Summing up the wealth of experiences and opportunities I’ve had working at Frontier is no easy task! I can’t think of anywhere else I could have undertaken such a wide range of challenges and met such great people.

As an intern I got to be part of the overseas operations department. Not only was this a fantastic insight into the running of overseas volunteering projects but I was also a valued member of the team, using my own skills and abilities to make a difference. It offered me great job satisfaction, which you don’t get from most internships!

I was then lucky enough to be offered 2 field staff roles in South East Asia and Central America. Leading the ethical adventure trails has given me so many memories I will never forget. I got to take people around some of the most amazing places in the world, and all while honing my skills in logistics, volunteer management and conservation methods.

Back in the London office I worked as a Volunteer Advisor. The office environment is really fun and I’ve made some great friends. The role itself allowed me to communicate my knowledge of all the Frontier projects to prospective volunteers. Finding the most suitable project when you are looking to volunteer overseas is very important not only for the individual and the success of the project itself so it was something I really enjoyed.

My time at Frontier allowed me to develop so many skills, whilst working with great people and seeing the most amazing things. The opportunities that were offered to me were fantastic and I’ve taken so much more away from it than I could have imagined on my first day!

Sam Wickham

Training Supervisor

December 2011 – December 2014

The three years I have been working at Frontier have been nothing but a learning experience. Starting with little to no experience of an office environment, I never expect to work in an office like this anywhere else, ever again. Beginning originally as the Events and Outreach Coordinator, I really enjoyed visiting schools, colleges and universities all over the UK, developing an encyclopaedic knowledge of the UK’s rail network in the process!

Throughout my two years in this role I was afforded incredible opportunities to visit our projects in Tanzania and Madagascar as an interim field staff member as well as a 3 month secondment to the Frontier US office in sunny California. Along the way, I have cherished the relationships I have developed with my colleagues (many of whom will remain firm friends for years to come) and the teachers and lecturers I have worked with. Special mention must go to all the young people I have spoken to both on our projects and those thinking about volunteering with Frontier.

Following a successful (I think!) two years in the EOC role, I was offered the chance to use my skills and knowledge of Frontier’s field projects and office processes to take on the role of Training Supervisor, responsible for overhauling all Frontier field staff training and taking on the development and coordination of our qualifications. In this role I was afforded responsibility and a greater autonomy than many other roles you might find in other areas of work. Once again, I am proud to have worked alongside the team at Frontier LHQ and have especially enjoyed the greater interaction with our field teams.

Frontier affords many opportunities to those who work there, and provides chances to take on responsibility and accountability fair sooner than many other organisations, but it is the people who you will meet and work with along the way that makes the experience a special one.

Paul Thompson

Partner Projects Manager

September 2010 - August 2014

I joined Frontier in September 2010 as Partner Projects Manager to oversee the successful delivery of the partner project portfolio, working with local communities and international NGO’s on social impact, capacity building and conservation programmes in 57 countries worldwide.  Over those four years I successfully managed the department through considerable growth, developed over 150 new volunteer programmes, launched a range of ancillary products and developed a number of key strategic commercial partnerships to drive growth and enhance the quality of the Frontier experience and volunteer journey. I have established solid relationships with and met some incredible people along the way dedicated to sustainable development and ecosystem protection.

Working for a small organisation such as Frontier is the perfect platform to get hands-on in all aspects of running an international NGO from the bottom up. The UK Operations Department was the engine room of the organisation, and as the senior staff member I had the privilege of coaching, mentoring and developing junior staff to continue to support our international programmes.

Working at Frontier, no two days will ever be the same. This role has taught me to expect the unexpected, to think on your feet and be resourceful. You can expect to work hard, but you will also be encouraged to develop new ideas and given the freedom to implement them, which is what makes Frontier so unique.

Providing young people with safe and worthwhile placements, and seeing the positive impact that our volunteers have on their host communities makes all the hard work worthwhile.

After 4 years I am moving on in search of a new challenge and adventure, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that I had the pleasure of working with for making the last four years so unforgettable. Keep up the good work!

Maria Sowter

Online Content Editor

December 2012 – July 2014

Having always been passionate about the environment, a lover of animals and a keen traveller, chancing upon Frontier’s Online Journalism Internship seemed slightly like fate. Upon starting at Frontier I was keen to build upon my media background and learn more about how an international NGO such as Frontier worked online. Luckily, starting a six month internship here which turned into a year and half as Frontier’s Online Content Editor has been the perfect opportunity to do so.

The job itself is a dynamic role which will see you do everything from liaising with field teams to helping recruit new staff or creating engaging visuals for online campaigns, with plenty of opportunity for press outreach and to develop Frontier’s social media channels and websites along the way. My experience of Frontier has always been one where new ideas and personal development have always been encouraged, which is invaluable for anyone looking to learn as much as possible early on in their career.

Frontier’s London HQ is a fun and fast-paced office that it has been a privilege to work at and has given me the chance to meet some amazing like-minded people. All the people behind the projects, both in the UK & US office and overseas staff, are passionate and enthusiastic about what they are trying to achieve and are a pleasure to work with. I’d like to say thank you to everyone that’s been a part of these last two years, whilst I’m looking forward to the future, I’m so sad to be leaving!

Ashley Earnest

Recruitment Supervisor - US

April 2013 - July 2014

My year at Frontier working as a Volunteer Advisor and Recruitment Supervisor has given me the chance to work within such a great organization. Having had the opportunity in the past to volunteer abroad, this position was a great fit. I have loved helping students and people from all walks of life go help overseas.  It has been such a pleasure speaking everyday with potential volunteers that are so excited to get out there and give back to communities.  I’ve learned so much about different cultures, countries, environments and the volunteers themselves.  Frontier has been such an amazing place to work with such fun loving people. I will miss working with the US staff and getting to know the UK staff via our skype chats!

Charlotte Lyddon

Head of Operations

December 2010 - May 2014

Following a 6 month Overseas Operations Internship with Frontier I moved on to a more senior staff position within the Department, and worked my way up to the Head of Operations role. Never did I think that when I sent my Internship application into Frontier I would be here after 4 years, running the department having had the opportunities I have been given.

The Head of Operations is responsible for the overall management of Frontier’s group projects including marine and terrestrial conservation, eco trails and community projects. I am responsible for recruitment, finances, equipment, staff and volunteers on every project as well as looking for new opportunities for Frontier in the countries we operate in and new locations. It is certainly a challenging role and never a quiet one either! I never know what I’m going to come into each morning but the adrenaline rush and fleckle in your heart rate can unexpectedly kick it at any time. The thrill of finding new opportunities and partnerships for Frontier, the pride in reading great feedback and seeing volunteers enthused about conservation and seeing the opportunities Frontier can provide to colleagues and staff makes the hard times worth it. And believe me, the hard times are tough but no one can expect to manage field projects in developing countries in remote locations and not have things go awry.

I could write pages about everything I have learnt and achieved in this role; I have launched new projects, written European Union fundraising proposals, developed operational & recruitment procedures, established new training programmes and implemented improved health & safety procedures across all projects. Also not forgetting my now extensive knowledge on compressor filter systems, dive kit servicing schedules and every type of security alarm, lock and cable under the sun, to traditional Tanzania boat building techniques, wooden hut building practice in Madagascar and correct etiquette in Fijian tribal culture. But seriously, no one ever mention the word ‘compressor’ to me again. 

I have had some incredible opportunities with Frontier; I have developed a number of new conservation and community development projects in our current locations and had the opportunity to develop and launch the Belize Marine Conservation & Diving project, including 2 field visits to this amazing country.  I have drunk kava in Fiji, explored Mayan ruins and wandered through spice fields in Zanzibar thanks to Frontier. I have to pinch myself when I’m dressed up ready to meet country Ambassadors, Government Ministers and top University lecturers; I shake my head in disbelief and ask myself ‘is this really work?’

What has really made my time special with Frontier is the people I have met and worked with. All credit to Frontier’s field staff; the organisation would not be what it is without their dedicated team of field staff, working 24/7 to make the projects what they are. Interns and staff in Frontier’s offices make everyday worth it. The people make this organisation work and have been my support system for 4 years. It makes every sleepless night worrying about budgets, kit, recruitment, security and agreements worth it, and I will miss being part of a dynamic, vibrant and fast paced office.

For anyone thinking about volunteering, interning or working for Frontier, do it. If you invest your time and energy into the organisation then you will gain a wealth of knowledge and experience and you never know where it might lead you. 

I will always remember my time with Frontier and leave with a sense of satisfaction and contentment, but excitement as to what lies ahead too. I would like to thank all staff, past and present, who I have worked with; it has certainly been a team effort. Thank you to Frontier for the opportunities and support and I am immensely proud of what has been achieved over the last 4 years. I am very excited to see how the organisation develops into the future and what more can be achieved!