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Charity Intern
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I loved the idea of working in the charity sector but found myself overwhelmed with the number and types of job roles. Gaining first hand charity sector experience seemed to be the perfect way to find out what each role does and what would be best suited for me.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Speculative application

Application process

I emailed the Sutton Trust with my CV and told them that I had the opportunity of a bursary and would love to carry out a work experience placement. As the Trust is a social mobility charity they would not be able to employ unpaid interns, so the fact I was able to receive funding for my placement meant they were able to accept me! I then applied for the bursary funding following the Career Connect guidelines and was successful! I was also able to write a newsletter piece whilst on my placement for the Trust's alumni community, giving advice on writing speculative applications and marketing yourself.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

I chose the Sutton Trust in particular because I am genuinely passionate about the work that they carry out. As an alumn of the Trust's 2015 Pathways to Law cohort myself, I have first-hand experience of the benefits of being involved in their programmes. I find The Sutton Trusts work inspiring and, particularly as a politics student, I loved the idea of being involved in their policy advocacy and work in parliament to transform the lives of disadvantaged students.

Main responsibilities

I worked across a range of the Trust's departments including research; development and alumni relations. In each of the departments I supported the team through carrying out independent tasks such as researching the educational backgrounds of MEPs; creating a story telling audit of alumni case studies and making recommendations for suitable donors.

Typical day

There really wasn't a 'typical day' because each day there was always something new or there was a different department to work with! Throughout my time with the Trust I was giving a number of tasks with different departments. For example, whilst working with the development team, I researched possible donors, creating a spreadsheet on why these donors would be suitable and how to create links with them. Within the research department, I carried out a research project and created a blog post based on the educational background of MEPs following the Sutton Trust's recent publication of 'Elitist Britain'. Finally, within the alumni department, I worked on building the alumni community, creating online resources and was involved in the debriefing of the alumni summer fundraising campaign.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

The work that I was given was varied and allowed me to showcase my own skills as well as learn from industry professionals about what working in a charity was really like. I loved the freedom that I was given to use my own experiences as an alumn to develop the alumni relations and to be involved with team meetings across departments to input my own ideas and observations. I was also fortunate enough to attend the final day of a Sutton Scholars summer school at UCL for students aged 12-13. It was amazing to see the work that the Trust carry out first hand and to see how confident and inspired the young people were as a result of the Trust's work.

Challenging aspects

As I had never had any formal charity experience before, I felt a little out of my depth at first. However, the staff at the Trust immediately made me feel part of the team. I was set up with meetings with heads of the different departments, including the CEO to gain understanding of how the Trust's work all fits together and to understand what exactly each person in the Trust does as part of their job. As well as this, on my first day I worked together with my line manager to set out goals for what I would achieve by the end of my placement so that I knew what was expected of me. This was really helpful and made me feel much more secure within my role.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Talk to everyone and make as many connections and take as many opportunities as you can!

Form completed: 17 Sep 2019

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