March 18, 2021, by abrierley
Politics Placements Module internship at Ditchley Foundation
by Alex Potts, Politics and International Relations
During the autumn semester of 2020 I undertook a remote placement with the Ditchley Foundation, an organisation that hosts regular conferences throughout the year with the aim of sustaining ‘peace, freedom and order’. My role was to aid in the development of their database; a form of networking that would provide detail on potential people of interest which the foundation would like to attend their conferences.
Given the context of remote working, the placement ran very smoothly as the team (multiple Nottingham students and our placement organiser, Martin) quickly developed a weekly routine. We would have a meeting on Monday morning to set that week’s agenda followed by a progress check on Thursday afternoons, and even though I was accountable to the organisation as opposed to just myself (somewhat of a contrast to ‘traditional’ modules) and therefore held significant responsibilities, the Thursday progress check was not a daunting meeting. In fact, when we met for a social call at the end of our placement, all of the students agreed that the Thursday meetings were the highlight of the week; a thoroughly enjoyable experience aided by an instant rapport and group harmony.
As this was an accredited academic module with a guaranteed placement – the application process was very simple and did not require me to send over any form of CV or personal statement at the start. Instead, the process was done through the university. I began by applying for the placement module through the module enrolment (conducted through MyNottingham), and once I was confirmed to have gained a place on this module I, and other students, were sent a document to indicate our placement preferences from a list of varied roles and organisations and a copy of our CV well in advance of the new semester. Be aware: the module is capped at 30 students, and only for final year undergraduate. So if you are interested, I would advise that when module enrolment comes online that you are up early on the first day to apply, as its always oversubscribed – I was one of the lucky ones!
The Ditchley Foundation was not my first on my preference list, but this did not undermine my placement experience at all. We were asked to rate our top 5 placement preferences, but due to placement availability and competition, the programme could not guarantee first choices. Instead (as in my case) they tried to match me to an organisation as close to my organisational and role-type preferences as possible.
One of the reasons as to why I was determined to join the University of Nottingham was due to this placement module; a great way of getting valuable work experience without taking a year out. I am glad to say that this judgment was rewarded. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Ditchley Foundation and would invite all students to consider the placement module.
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