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March 7, 2024, by lqyhs14

How my placement impacted my career aspirations

By Hemakshi Soni, BA Sociology and Social Policy © via Unsplash by Elio Santos

Last summer, I undertook a four-week placement as a Social Media Assistant. Through this experience, I learned a range of valuable skills and deepened my understanding of my strengths, passions and interests which has helped me with future career choices. 

The Faculty of Social Sciences offers the Widening Participation Programme, a three week paid placement available to first/second-year undergraduate social science students underrepresented in higher education. The criteria to apply is any one of the following:

  • Be in receipt of a University of Nottingham Core Bursary or a Nottingham Potential Bursary.
  • Have a declared disability.
  • Identify as having Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) ethnicity.
  • The home address used on your UCAS application is in an area where people are less likely to go to university.
  • Be a mature student (21 or over at the start of your course).
  • Have spent more than three months in local authority care (this can be at any point in your life).
  • Be under 25 and estranged from your family.
  • Be a carer.
  • Have refugee status from the Home Office

Through this scheme, I joined the Mojatu Foundation. This charity organisation targets disadvantaged communities such as FGM (female genital mutilation) survivors, refugees and asylum seekers as well as supporting BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities whose needs are often overlooked. They provide a range of services including training and skills for refugees and asylum seekers, online courses to learn English, legal advice for immigration, weekly events to bring the community together, a support group for men’s mental health and more.

My placement experience

This placement allowed me to apply knowledge gained from my degree in a professional setting. I was able to expand on my passion for social justice by understanding the behind-the-scenes of tackling various social issues such as Mojatu’s focus on helping women and FGM survivors, people with mental health challenges, refugees and asylum seekers.  

What particularly stood out to me was the diverse range of tasks and projects which ensured every day was different and I was constantly engaged, such as event coordination, social media management, collaborating with graphic designers for event promotions, contributing to radio shows, and writing articles for the Mojatu Magazine. I particularly enjoyed helping with the weekly art events as it was very eye-opening to see the community engaged through a more interpersonal connection and seeing a direct impact on people’s lives.

Transferable Skills  

A variety of skills such as working as a team to bring the local community together, and developing communication, problem-solving and event-planning skills have already proven to be very valuable in my academic journey. I was able to apply these new skills in being a course representative, gathering feedback, and collaborating within a team to implement improvements. Due to this placement, I became interested in event planning and understanding how to work as a team to commit to a cause and execute events. This experience and new-found interest inspired me to undertake another placement in the upcoming Spring semester for planning a careers event for the University’s Sociology and Social Policy department.

What this placement has taught me 

Beyond its impact on my career aspirations, this experience played a vital role in my personal growth, encouraging me to step beyond my comfort zone and become more independent and confident. Although I gained numerous new skills and experiences in this role, the most significant gain was confidence and faith in my capabilities as initially, I was very nervous about entering a new environment. I discovered that my supervisors, co-workers and the support provided by the University through Moodle and the workshops were incredibly beneficial.

Despite initial fears of joining a placement, I found my experience invaluable as it left me more confident and better equipped for future career endeavours.

To explore your options and discover other placement schemes and programmes offered by the University, visit the ‘What can I do?’ webpage.

Posted in Internship