May 28, 2015, by Jacqui Storey
Over the next couple of weeks my colleague Jill Bennett and I will be busy interviewing students who have applied for our Undergraduate Community Internship Programme (UCIP). It’s an enjoyable process as we meet students who want to give their time to local third sector organisations who in return offer valuable work experience.
Over the five years we’ve run the programme we’ve had some outstanding students who have done some invaluable work for organisations that often have limited resources. We are indebted to these organisations for taking the time to work with us to develop a suitable placement and provide support to the student whilst with them. The placements are typically for a day a week between the end of September and the middle of December each year.
The internships provide a valuable insight into working with charities and voluntary organisations and leads many students into a fulfilling career in the third sector. Some notable UCIP alumni are Siobhan Randell who was placed with The Children’s Society and is now a Project Co-ordinator with educational charity the Access Project. Another is Laura Richardson who volunteered with POW Nottingham and now works for housing charity Family Mosaic and finally Tui Benjamin who cut her teeth in a communications role for The Renewal Trust and is now a Health Reporter with the Bury Times. It’s fair to say that Tui and the Renewal Trust were truly a match made in heaven as we would receive regular emails from the Trust telling us how fabulous Tui was and the feelings were fully reciprocated. This led to a summer placement for another student, George Maier, who was equally successful and stayed at the Trust on a part time basis for the following year.
Once this year’s cohort have been appointed, I begin my search for placements and would welcome enquiries from any third sector organisations who are interested in being involved. I help to develop suitable projects so it isn’t necessary to have a fully formed idea. It might be a piece of research you don’t have the time to carry out or a marketing campaign that needs looking at from a new perspective; our students have very many skills and lots of enthusiasm. We run other group projects throughout the year so I can discuss with you whether your project might be better suited to that rather than an individual placement.
If you want to get involved you can contact me by telephone on 0115 951 3718 or email firstname.lastname@example.org