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Project Manager
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I have over 10 years of professional experience in the fields of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, in both professional practice and academic teaching. I have been involved in projects involving public spaces design, green spaces, master planning and strategic policy development projects in the Middle East, Iran as well as teaching students (undergraduate and postgraduate) on the Landscape Architecture and Urban Design courses since 2015 at The University of Sheffield. I also worked at MELA Social Enterprise on the YES (Youth Engagement Space) project. The project involved me working with young people to transform social exclusion and create a new sense of belonging and identity as an intercultural network. Working at MELA developed my future aspirations including to continue working on challenging urban design and planning projects at a global scale involving innovative design principles and sustainable approaches to address the increasing challenges in urbanism and to improve the quality of life of people, in particular, children and young adults in our global future.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Through LinkedIn.

Application process

The Careers Service at Sheffield University advertised the bursary application. My application was been successful and I was awarded £1000!

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

As an Urban Design researcher, I was curious to know about how to transform social exclusion and create a new sense of belonging and identity through building intercultural networks. In addition, working with young people to understand their experiences, needs and expectations associate with the idea of Youth Club Centre design and the project also offered a more comprehensive approach to understanding outdoor places such as tennis courts, volleyball and basketball areas for designing. Therefore, MELA provided this opportunity and engaged me with young people from different ethnicities who were mostly South Asian and Black African and a few from White backgrounds which was a great experience for me.

Main responsibilities

I worked at MELA as Project Manager and my main responsibilities included:
Supporting the planning and delivery of team-building events
Managing the culminating celebratory event
Mentoring the Youth Leaders
Attending team meetings to keep track of how planning, delivering and mentoring was going

Typical day

I led several informative workshops with young people who were aged between 12-24, and the majority young male users. The type of activity in each workshop played an important role in the idea of planning and designing in the Youth Club Centre! In addition, I was able to lead the final event on behalf of MELA. I was successful in managing all aspects of the event with efficiency and well-organised behaviour. I observed the happiness of young people, and also the level of engagement of young females significantly increased in this particular event.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

It was great to work with a diverse team at MELA, in particular, mentoring the youth leaders.

Challenging aspects

I perceived values of use and sociality in a Youth Club Centre setting and the implication regarding the perceptions of others. Also belonging to people and place is the most considerable point in the future for planning and designing a Youth Club Centre. However, the present of social activities, less engaged young female users in this centre and the current social activities largely happened within same gender-ethnicity-age group. Although the young female users were engaged in activities such as ping-pong and tennis the centre needed to create new types of activities that can engage them, such as colour painting and dancing courses.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

Yes, it really influenced me! My responsibility as a project manager in this project helped to build my confidence in the future career in practice. The project equipped me my skills and knowledge necessary to positively influence the team. Additionally, it improved my organisational, communication and problem-solving capacities.

As a result of your placement/internship, what are your next steps in planning what you want to do after graduation?

As a result of my experience, I will apply to jobs such as in the large consultancy Arup who have roles in child and youth-centred design. This project has increased my experience in socially-focused design which will help my career. Any further opportunities to develop my experience in this field will be important to develop my practical career.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

I would definitely recommend it! Students should apply to this great opportunity, to build a good network and bridge the gap between industry and academia for their future career.

Other comments

I would like to thank the Careers Service at Sheffield University for funding and granting me with this valuable opportunity.

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Form completed: 11 Nov 2019

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