Employer Case Study- University of Exeter Environment and Climate Emergency Team

“Professional Pathways is a great way of getting a student’s perspective and some fresh ideas to help with research”

Line Manager: Victoria Patch

Job Title: Communication and Engagement Lead

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

I joined the University in May this year- and one of the priorities was (and still is) writing a Communication and Engagement Strategy for the Environment and Climate Emergency team. This is a huge task, as first of all I had to get my head round how the University works, the organisational structure and the processes. Having students assisting was amazing as they could help in one key area – communication and engagement with students. They gave me an insight into the student journey, from before they start through to the final year, and suggested key times when we should be thinking of including the sustainability message as part of the regular communication that goes out, e.g., the prospectus. They also suggested the best method of contacting students – OK – I knew social media was one of the main channels but it hadn’t occurred to me to send information to tutors to forward to students… apparently one email they are guaranteed to read. They analysed our current website, gave feedback (strengths and weaknesses) and researched public engagement with climate change – and both reports will feed into the strategy.

How was your experience of hosting a Pathways intern?

The interns worked partly in the office and partly independently. They got on well, so some days when not in the office they worked together, so could compare notes. I wrote a brief before they started, with four areas I wanted help with and asked them to choose two – that way they could choose which interested them the most. I talked to them both again before they started to discuss what work arrangements suited them best (hours, from home or in the office etc). They were invited to a team meeting the week before the internship on Teams -one of them came along and introduced herself to the team. If they had any queries, I asked them to contact me on Teams. I had a couple of catch ups with them during the week, but they were relatively independent and got on with the work. I looked at draft reports towards the end of the week and suggested amendments or further research. From my perspective it went well, and they both seemed happy.