Category Archives: Charity and Development Work

Student Blog Post: Exeter City Community Trust

Student Name: Ella

Pathway Programme: Pathways to Charity and Development

Internship Role: Charity Development Assistant

Internship Employer: Exeter City Community Trust

As a Sociology student in my final year, the thought of deciding what I want to do for a career was a daunting one! With so many different options and possibilities, I felt quite overwhelmed and unsure (and I know a lot of other students tend to feel the same!) I decided to apply for the University’s Professional Pathways internship programme, in the hopes of getting some experience and a clearer idea of what kind of job I might like to do in the future. There were 4 different sectors to choose from: I applied to the ‘Pathways to Charity and Development’.

For me, working in the Charity sector was an interesting prospect (and it seemed to link in well with my personal and academic interests), but I didn’t know much about it, and I wasn’t sure what types of jobs were available to me within the Charity sector. After applying to Professional Pathways, and being successful in the Assessment Centre, I secured a place on the scheme and was invited to attend a series of employer-led training sessions. Speakers from both local and national charities came in to discuss various topics (such as charity funding and fundraising, communications, volunteer management, and humanitarianism). The training week culminated in group presentations to a panel of employers, in response to different project briefs set by local charities. My group’s brief asked us to review, evaluate, and provide recommendations for Exeter City Community Trust’s social media channels. We were then rewarded with pizza, as well as a chance to network with employers!

After the training, I began my paid 35-hour internship. I was matched with Exeter City Community Trust (ECCT), as a Charity Development Assistant. During this internship, I have had the opportunity to learn about all the different roles within ECCT, as well as the programmes and activities that they offer for the community (focussing on sports, education, and wellbeing). A highlight for me so far has been helping with the “social café”, which was set up during COVID to combat loneliness. ECCT’s social cafe is a place where people can go, once a week, to have a cup of tea and chat with others. From talking to some of the regular attendees, it was clear how important this was to their own wellbeing! It seemed like a real lifeline for older generations, and it was amazing to see that it has made such a difference.

In terms of how my involvement in Pathways to Charity and Development has helped me in my career journey so far, I’ve gained valuable insight into what it might be like to work in the Charity sector. It’s also confirmed that this is a career I would love to go into; specifically, a role that centres around improving the wellbeing of communities. Looking ahead to finishing my internship with Exeter City Community Trust, I cannot wait to see what my next career steps are, and I’m excited to take what I have learnt from the Professional Pathways programme forward into life as an Exeter graduate.

Pathways to Charities & International Development is one of 4 sector specific training courses offered which make up the Professional Pathways programme, hosted by the central careers service. Employers can get involved by offering a 1 hr training session, providing a business project for students to work on in the training or hosting a funded 35 hr internship.

Employer Case Study- Prostate Cancer UK

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“I would wholeheartedly recommend that employers get involved with Professional Pathways”

Line Manager Name: Jack Watts

Job Title: Direct Marketing Executive

How was your experience of hosting a Pathways intern?

Ellie was able to join us in the office on each day of her internship and met a range of colleagues from across the charity, either face to face or by video call. We purposefully scheduled her work days around when others would be in the office and on one day we had a scheduled Team Day where Ellie was able to meet the wider team and join us for lunch. We agreed to spread Ellie’s five working days over two weeks which gave me time to arrange her workload in between her work days and to review any work she had done before she started her next working day. Overall, we found that it worked really well and I know Ellie appreciated the flexibility we offered around when she could start and finish, as well as having the option to work from home if she needed.

Given the Professional Pathways internship is 35 hours in total, how would you recommend ensuring both you and your intern(s) gain as much as possible from the experience?

I’ve managed several Professional Pathways roles now, from different programmes and at different organisations. I’ve learnt that it’s really important to get the balance right between ensuring the experience is valuable for the student and that the outputs are useful for the employer. This can be a difficult balance to strike and weighting the internship too far in one direction or another will mean one of you may not get what you need from the experience.

To help both Ellie and myself meet our objectives, I made sure to manage expectations from the beginning of the internship. I had a quick call with Ellie before the internship began to find out what she was hoping to get from the experience and what areas of work she was most interested in, and I also explained we would have to balance work she found the most interesting with tasks that were high priority. Ellie completely understood this and we checked in regularly throughout the internship to make sure we were getting the balance right.

I think it’s easy to underestimate what students may get from certain tasks; things that are ‘business as usual’ to you and your colleagues may be more interesting to a student who has never done anything like it before.

Why would you recommend Professional Pathways to other employers?
I would wholeheartedly recommend that employers get involved with Professional Pathways. The programme always produces excellent students who are eager to get stuck in and bring a fresh perspective to any task. The Careers Team make the whole experience painless for the employer and take care of the entire recruitment, shortlisting, and matching process.
Students are always keen to learn as much as they can whilst offering their valuable skills and experience to the benefit of your organisation. If managed well, interns provide you with added capacity, allowing you to either delegate some business as usual work to free up your own time or assign a nice-to-have project to someone with fresh eyes and plenty of time.
There are multiple ways to engage with Professional Pathways and when these are done in combination, the benefits can be multiplied. We provided a group project for students on the Charity and Development Pathway which meant our intern had already become familiar with our organisation and our work, which helped her hit the ground running during her internship.

Employer Case Study- Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF)

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“The research and skillset these students have might be something other charities need, so I highly recommend employing an intern”

Line Manager Name: Laura Barnes

Job Title: Marketing, Communications and PR Officer

How did hosting an intern via the Professional Pathways programme benefit you and your organisation?

Cornwall VSF was gearing up for a sector-leading event, to introduce the VCSE to the new Integrated Care System. Having an intern gave us support to design a feedback system to gather as much information as possible. We used their impressive R&D skills to help us with this. We use the feedback gathered by the survey co-created with our intern to shape our future event offer. This will benefit charities and VCSE organisations in Cornwall, and in turn will benefit communities.

How was your experience of hosting a Pathways intern?

We are currently a remote organisation. Our intern rose to this challenge well. She attended our face-to-face event for 8 hours and took some amazing photos for us. We then arranged some face-to-face meeting to check she felt supported.

Given the Professional Pathways internship is 35 hours in total, how would you recommend ensuring both you and your intern(s) gain as much as possible from the experience?

I recommend designing or co-designing a plan to ensure the intern knows what’s expected of them. I had a call with our intern, to learn about their strengths and preferences, to design a project that is mutually beneficial.

Why would you recommend Professional Pathways to other employers?

Absolutely. The research and skillset these students have might be something other charities need, so I highly recommend employing an intern. It’s fantastic news that the interns are paid for their experience, opening this up to be as inclusive as possible.

What advice would you give to a student considering applying for Professional Pathways?

Have an initial call with the employer to ask for a robust project plan, which helps to design your hours well, and make the best use of your time. Don’t be afraid to challenge people and offer your viewpoint. You are skilled.

Employer Case Study- South West Coast Path Association

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“Professional Pathways internships are an invaluable opportunity to ‘see inside’ an organisation”

Line Manager Name: Christie Burton

Job Title: Head of Fundraising

How did hosting an intern via the Professional Pathways programme benefit you and your organisation?

Our intern worked on the early stages of planning for a Youth Membership scheme which is being considered as a membership product that could potentially be offered by the Association in the future. As a young person herself, within the target audience for the scheme, and brimming with ideas, Hannah was able to suggest what she saw as being the most popular benefits that we could offer as part of the package, strategies to link with key organisations and groups, ideas for comms and technology and also some barriers to engagement that we should consider. This work will be seminal in the development of our team’s thinking around the scheme.

What advice would you give to a student considering applying for Professional Pathways?
Professional Pathway internships are an invaluable opportunity to ‘see inside’ an organisation and that insight is more valuable and current than any textbook description of what charities do and how they operate. My advice would be to jump in, don’t be intimidated, get involved and throw your ideas into the mix – odds are that the teams at the host charities and businesses are just waiting to hear from you!

Student Case Study: RJ Working

Name of Student:  Katelyn Wells

Degree Subject:  BSc Business

Job Title: PR and Communications Support Worker

Company Name:  RJ Working

Type of Internship: Access to Internships (A2I) 

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

I have been responsible for the set-up and maintenance of a new, fit-for-purpose, website for the organisation. I have also taken a key role in the internal and external communications which aided in my role of organising two events, one being the 10th Birthday Party for the organisation, and the other working with a team to deliver an event for young people across Cornwall.                                                                                                                                       

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

I have loved my internship and have had the opportunity to learn and develop my skill set in many areas. Regarding hard skills, project management, communication and web design are just a few that I have enjoyed. Being able to work on and deliver an incredible event to young people regarding tackling discrimination has been brilliant.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • IT

Attributes Developed:

  • Creative thinking
  • Work Ethic
  • Professionalism

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

What I have enjoyed the most is the development of team communications, working in a small charity that are all so passionate about social and cultural change has been an incredible experience that I will carry with me throughout my career. I have been supported in challenging my capabilities both professionally and personally. My confidence in a professional environment has grown substantially. Overall my experience with the internship has been invaluable.

Employer Quote: 

“She has been critical to the launch and development of our website, our twitter developing use of Twitter and our events management. In July Katelyn was central for 2 events – co-ordinating our Tenth Birthday Party celebration, hosted at Trebah Garden, and a Together For Justice event for young people in which she played a leading role. Katelyn has also been central to our Climate Action Group, helping to co-ordinate, noting meetings.” – Deborah Mitchell CEO

Employer Case Study: 

https://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/internships/employer-case-study-rj-working-cio/

Employer Case Study: RJ Working CIO

Name of Organisation: RJ Working CIO – a charity for children and young people

Name of Employer: Deborah Mitchell

Job Title: CEO

Internship Scheme used: Access to Internships (A2I) 

Feedback:                        

“Katelyn joined us as an intern specialising in PR and communications. Our organisation is very dynamic and fast-moving and she has found her place in that and made a lot of contributions joining things up. She has been critical to the launch and development of our website, our twitter developing use of Twitter and our events management. In July Katelyn was central for 2 events – co-ordinating our Tenth Birthday Party celebration, hosted at Trebah Garden, and a Together For Justice event for young people in which she played a leading role. Katelyn has also been central to our Climate Action Group, helping to co-ordinate, noting meetings,

Katelyn’s teamwork and leadership of our Together for Justice conference /event in July was a huge achievement. Also contributing proactively to our organisational culture, in ways that are very important at a time of growth. She understands the nuances and is a skilled communicator and has a strong understanding of both task and process.

Katelyn has been exposed to the hectic nature of a small organisation at a time of growth and development, and the non-linear nature of our offer to a segmented market. She has embraced all the learning opportunities on offer and has shown her capability of developing her skills set in response to a variety of challenges, We have seen her grow in confidence and initiative and take on increasing responsibilities within the team.”

Employer Case Study: Mind in Somerset

Name of Organisation: Mind in Somerset

Description Of Company: Mind’s core purpose is to provide services and support to anyone affected by mental illness, improving their quality of life and wellbeing.

Name of Employer: Victoria Poole

Job Title: Funding Manager

Internship Scheme used:  Access to Internships (A2I) 

Feedback:

“Our intern was an excellent asset to the team. Very proactive with great skills and willing to get involved in many areas of the charity. She helped with an outstanding finance and HR project.

She was incredible – very well prepared and fitted in to the team seamlessly. She genuinely wanted to be there, to help and to learn which was fantastic. I highly recommend this scheme.”

Employer Case Study: RAMM

Name of Organisation: Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Description of Organisation: RAMM will enhance people’s quality of life. It’s a place of discovery which encourages everyone to be curious. RAMM uses its local and global collections to connect people to the world and inspires them to shape a better future.

Name of Employer: Nicki McCaskie

Job Title: Marketing and Communications Officer

Internship Scheme used: Graduate Business Partnership (GBP) , 

Feedback:

“Our intern ran a campaign for us, Treasures of the Museum, which was highly successful at getting families into RAMM and engaging with our collections through a museum trail. Treasures of the Museum was part of a wider summer campaign which resulted in RAMM achieving over 140% of predicted visits for the summer period. Our social media audiences & engagement stats have also increased over all platforms during our interns time with us, including over 1000 more Twitter followers. Our Instagram channel has greatly improved with high quality posts and regular Instagram stories.

Thanks to an award application written by our incredible intern, RAMM is a finalist in this year’s Devon Tourism Awards for the Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award category. Internally, our Audience Development meetings are now more organised and better-recorded thanks to our intern’s planning skills and note-taking.

Our intern has been excellent; she settled into our team straight away, and has become a valued member over the past 15 months. She responded well to challenges presented by the pandemic, working flexibly and solving problems as they arose. We were extremely impressed by her creativity, her communication skills, her dedication to the role and her passion for the museum.”

Employer Case Study: Morrab Library

Name of Organisation: Morrab Library

Description of Organisation: The Morrab Library is an independent library based in Penzance, Cornwall in the UK. It holds over 60,000 books, and extensive archive collections. Notable collections include the Dawson Napoleonic Collection comprising over 3,000 engravings and prints, photographic collections of over 15,000 prints and negatives, extensive runs of 18th and 19th century journals, the Jenner Collection of Cornish and Celtic books, and over 2,000 books printed from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Name of Employer: Lisa Di Tommaso

Job Title: Librarian

Internship Scheme used:  Access to Internships (A2I) 

Feedback:

“Our intern wrote a lengthy paper on the life of JT Blight within the context of the treatment of the mentally ill in 19th century Cornwall, which will be posted on our website and on social media. The paper will also be added to our archival collections, thus enhancing our understanding of the collections we hold. In due course, the intern will also return to deliver a talk to our members on the topic of her research.

This level of in-depth research and the length of the paper she produced were new to our intern, and she achieved a high standard in her work. She also worked largely alone, consulting myself and colleagues as needed, but essentially taking on the project and her choice of research materials herself, providing her with a great opportunity to learn about the techniques and process of academic research.

We very much enjoyed welcoming the intern as part of the team, and were incredibly sad to see her go when her time was completed. Her contribution to our knowledge of the library’s collections was greatly enhanced. I believe it was a highly positive experience for both us, and the intern.”

Student Case Study: University of Exeter – Covid 19 Project

Name of Student:  Kathryn Bullough

Degree Subject: MSci Zoology

Job Title: Research assistant (COVID-19 plastic bottle pollution)

Company Name: University of Exeter

Type of Internship: Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs)  

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Carrying out a literature review and data analysis of both public poll data and plastic bottle count data to determine how plastic bottle pollution has changed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

Created a publishable report detailing all my findings, along with a blog and presentation to access wider audiences. Discovered that plastic bottle pollution has decreased during the pandemic, however this is likely to be short-lived as life returns to normal.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

As part of my time working with the #Oneless team, I was tasked with producing a report detailing how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted plastic bottle pollution. Using a multi-methods approach, I carried out a literature review, analysis of public poll data, and analysis of plastic bottle count data, coming to the conclusion that bottle pollution has decreased, however this is likely to be short-lived as life returns to normal. As a result, I ended up producing a publishable report that will be used by the #Oneless team to determine their strategy coming out of the pandemic, as well as being submitted to a journal later this year.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • Decision Making

Attributes Developed:

  • Logical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Independence
  • Work Ethic
  • Professionalism

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“My internship experience was a lot more challenging, but also a lot more rewarding than I expected. I was really pushed to reach my full potential, and as a result produced a genuinely useful and original report that will be used to guide future policies related to conservation.”