I did my internship at a charity called 'SHINE: Support & Help In Education' who support various programmes aiming to raise the attainment of children from disadvantaged backgrounds across the North. My internship was centred around producing an 'insight report' on the achievement of highly-able disadvantaged pupils, conducting an extensive literature review, complimented by interviews with former pupils, school staff, and university staff. I chose this organisation as I was certain I wanted to carry out my internship in the education field, so after doing research on education charities in the area, I found SHINE's schemes particularly interesting and I decided to get in touch. The Social Policy Department's Internship Fund Scheme was crucial in allowing me to complete an internship, as if this scheme was not available I would have had to work all summer, leaving no time to complete an internship.
As a second year social policy student interested predominantly in working in charity and third sector work, I have found it very hard in the past to find internships in these fields that offer paid experience. Given how essential it is to have work experience set up for when you embark on a career, being expected to cover the additional costs of living in London and giving up your time for work becomes extremely difficult when unpaid internships are the norm. This internship funding scheme is a unique and fantastic opportunity to seek and gain experience in a field of your choice and to be able to comfortably cover all of your living expenses during this time. I found it to be extremely beneficial in allowing me to really get a deeper understanding of the work i could be doing in the future, along with the flexibility to choose a charity or organisation that fits your interests, which for me, was the Prisoner’s Education Trust. The skills and knowledge that I developed during my internship were second to none, and I would recommend all and any students to apply for this scheme as it made my summer a very rewarding time and offered me the chance to really get a feel of what I wanted to do after LSE.
This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with a charity while receiving living wage through LSE Careers. The Internship Scheme was very important to my career development. It allowed me to stay in London and learn from engaging with a charity, instead of going back to live with my parents and take up a summer job most likely irrelevant to my degree. With the charity, I learned about the causes of homelessness, social entrepreneurship, and got insight into what it means to be a social worker. This, in turn, has made me interested in potentially doing Frontline as a graduate program. Overall, a very enriching experience and the financial freedom from actually receiving a wage was a big privilege denied to many taking internships not in the financial or law sector. I think it makes for a more leveled playing field in terms of rich corporations as opposed to small start ups being able to attract students for internship positions.
I completed an internship with The Childhood Trust, a charity committed to lessening child poverty in London. I choose to work for this charity because I wanted to engage with an organisation that is focused on helping people in need, as it is something I am also motivated by. Another reason why I applied was to learn more about the charitable sector and its effectiveness in making a difference to people’s lives. Lastly, I hoped that first hand experience in such a sector would allow me to reflect on my academic studies at LSE on a deeper level, and that I would gain greater clarity what I wanted to pursue after graduation.
My internship was overall a very positive experience. Working in an office environment, I learnt about the complexities of the workings of a charity; gaining new knowledge and skills that are likely to be of use in other working environments such as accounting, data entry and even navigating email etiquette! In spending so much time with one organisation I was able to develop a deeper, personal attachment to it's values and ambitions, and I found myself caring more about the work I was doing as I progressed. I was able to meet some of the children that the charity supports, and I feel more equipped to understand the topics of inequality and poverty that I study within my social policy degree. I have gained a new set of leadership, communication and technical skills and I feel less intimidated by the working world.
This summer, I worked as an intern for Community Energy South (CES). CES is an enterprise based in Lewes that is involved in just about everything to reduce carbon footprints: from providing advice on energy bills; to advocating to local energy groups to reduce carbon footprints. As the mission of the organisation focused on limiting the impacts of climate change on people, it really drew me in.
My work experience involved working in various capacities in diverse settings. For the first few weeks, I was shadowing the Director Ollie Pendered and helping him to lobby local politicians about climate change and fuel poverty. This also included taking notes and making excel spreadsheets to keep track of the progress. The latter part of the internship was very academic, and it involved assisting Dr Colin Nolden of University of Bristol to design a social impact framework to analyse the impact of the enterprise on society.
Overall, it was a great learning opportunity to put what I have learnt so far from university into practice- notetaking, communication skills etc. I am grateful for the internship fund scheme that allowed me to work for a cause I believed in.
In June 2019, I had the opportunity to intern at Bridges Fund Management, a social-impact investment fund based in London. Large investment banks, consultancy firms and other financial organisations are prominently featured as possible career options, but there is little information about alternative pathways; the ones that allow you to combine profitability and positive impact, rather than viewing them as mutually exclusive. Thanks to the Internship Fund Scheme, I discovered the sustainable and responsible side of finance. I applied to a number of social investment funds, but the team at Bridges seemed the most passionate about staying true to their values, while also delivering good returns to their investors. Throughout the experience I watched this process first-hand. It was also incredibly rewarding to see the social policy problems I study in my degree programme tackled by the financial world; I could finally bridge the gap between merely discussing challenges like inequality and health care, and actually solving them in sustainable and creative ways.
This summer, I interned at the Margaret Pyke Trust with the Population and Sustainability Network.
MPT is a reproductive health organisation that works both in the UK and in Uganda. During my time there, I worked almost entirely on the development of USHAPE – a comprehensive training programme for family planning service providers and advocates. The programme consisted of three levels, with 14 modules each. Each module covered a different method of contraception as well as side effects, myths and misconceptions, ideal candidates for the method and counselling advice.
The aim of USHAPE was to increase the demand for family planning services by providing counselling training to all hospital employees (not just doctors and nurses) with whom a patient might interact in their visit to a medical facility. This initiative arose as a result of many teenagers and single women and men being discouraged from accessing these services due to perceived stigma from other hospital employees.
This summer I worked for The Childhood Trust as part of the social policy internship fund scheme. This is a small charity focused on alleviating the impact of child poverty in London. Initially, I was made responsible for writing a research report on the housing market in London and how this contributes to child poverty. This involved reviewing existing literature as well as analysing data from the charity’s own interviews with vulnerable tenants across London, some of which I completed myself. It felt like the perfect project for me as a social policy and economics students, challenging me to combine the skills and knowledge I have gained from both sides of my degree. In turn, the information I have gained through completing the research will definitely influence my future academic studies.
As the weeks progressed, I was also involved in completing the charity’s impact assessment, helping to organise their upcoming London Child Poverty summit and managing their social media. This allowed me to develop a variety of really practical skills. The experience also added depth to my insight into the reality of working for a small charity, where limited staff may mean you are challenged with a wide range of tasks. This also meant that I was given significant responsibility and felt that I was making a genuine impact to The Childhood Trust’s cause.
Overall, my experience was highly enjoyable and I would really recommend the programme and the organisation to other students. It was really interesting to witness the organisational and executive dimensions of a charity, rather than simply contributing in the capacity of a traditional volunteer. I only wish that the funding could have been made available for more than 140 hours. I ended up working a lot more than this, given the extent to which I enjoyed my position, but was denied more funding by LSE. I believe that in the future, there should be a mechanism whereby students on the programme doing particularly meaningful work can apply for an extension.
In the summer I completed my 1 month internship, funded by the LSE Social Policy internship fund, with the Aleto Foundation, a charitable organisation that creates personalised leadership programmes for BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) young people. I was on their Annual Leadership programme the year before, a 3 day intensive with workshops, speakers, panel discussions, and a team challenge to complete and present at the end of the programme. That experience introduced me to the inspiring Aleto network of young students and professionals that are driven, want each other to succeed, and who take the initiative to make a difference in their communities.
During my internship, I was apart of the marketing team for their Annual Charity Ball and Leadership Programme, managing their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook pages 4 days a week. I was also the Chief Buddy on their 2018 Leadership Programme, where I managed a team of 10 former participants of the programme (buddies), who would be helping the new participants with their challenge question. I set up weekly meetings between myself, the COO (Veronica Martin) and the buddies, discussing the progress of the preparation for the programme and figuring out our plan of action, where I took minutes, occasionally chaired the meetings, and briefed the buddies to make sure they understood their role and responsibilities during the programme. Furthermore, I also fed back to Veronica regularly about marketing, and how to improve the role of the buddies and the programme in general.
The Aleto Foundation has given me insight into how a charitable organisation functions and how much work goes on behind the scenes. Having the pleasure to work alongside Veronica, who works hard and loses sleep to see everyone around her succeed, and the rest of the Aleto team was a delight. Meeting the amazing cohort of the 2018 programme and hearing about their 11pm skype calls and 7am meet ups to work on their presentation was a pleasure also, as the growth that they had achieved within 3 days was astonishing. This experience was very valuable to me, being one of the highlights of my year, and I am very grateful for the LSE Social Policy internship fund for allowing me to take this opportunity.