July 16, 2021, by abrierley
My placement at Rainbow Parent Carers Forum as a Business Support Officer’
Emma Jones, Year 4 Politics and French
As a Business Support Officer for Rainbow Parent Carers Forum (PCF), I have gained invaluable hands-on experience for a charity/NGO. Rainbow PCF’s main aim is to support families, parents and carers of children or young adults who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Nottingham. My own values really aligned with the organisation which was what initially sparked my interest in the placement.
My main tasks involved event planning, data and survey analysis, communication with external organisations, research tasks, and social media responsibilities. The work really varied which was interesting, and the tasks assigned to me were flexible based on my own interests. During the placement I worked with a small team, all of whom were extremely friendly and supportive which made a huge difference. This was really relevant to my Politics degree and aspirations of working for an NGO, as I have learnt a lot about how local councils function in providing services for vulnerable people and have had great insight into how charities and NGOs function.
The highlight of the placement has definitely been seeing how much of a positive impact that Rainbow PCF has on vulnerable families. For example, during the placement I helped to organise events and days out for young people with disabilities. This really helped to boost their self-esteem and confidence, whilst giving them the opportunity to make new friends. This was a great motivation for me during the placement, and made the work so rewarding for me. I also really enjoyed how the placement was a mix of office-based work, site visits and sessional work with the young people. There is also the option for you to provide support on the sessions with the children and young people, which is really fun if it is something you are interested in!
One of the biggest challenges on the placement was adapting to Covid-19 restrictions, which changed regularly. This was particularly challenging in terms of event planning. However, being able to overcome these challenges has been really beneficial to me in terms of employability; successfully working for an organisation during a pandemic is something that is really attractive for employers and shows that you can be adaptable and take initiative.
I have actually previously worked for Rainbow as a sessional worker for their play sessions, but it wasn’t until the placement opportunity came along that I had any involvement on the day-to-day running of the organisation. Since the placement, I have actually been offered a full-time job for a year at Rainbow, which I have accepted as I have truly loved working with the organisation and the team. So, anyone who would be undertaking this placement would also be working alongside me, which is really exciting! I also think it would be a bit less daunting for any future students undertaking this placement to know that they would be working alongside a UoN graduate which is a big benefit to this placement.
For anyone considering this placement or a similar one, I would recommend going into the placement with some ideas of what jobs you may like in the future. That way, the placement host can try to facilitate giving you roles and responsibilities that will support you with future applications. Bev, the Rainbow CEO, has been excellent in doing this for me. I would also recommend applying for any placement that you find interesting; it is likely that it will not matter if you have relevant experience. It is always really helpful to have people on board with different skill sets and backgrounds!
I wish you all the best, and good luck in your applications.
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