February 10, 2022, by abrierley
by Nicola Speakman BSc Economics
Raleigh International is a youth-driven organisation supporting a global movement of young people to lead action by connecting them with the skills, networks, platforms and experiences. They work globally to promote the role of young people in decision making and civil society, creating meaningful youth employment and enterprise, protecting vulnerable environments and combating climate change, and ensuring the right to safe water and sanitation. One of their new environmental campaigns at the forefront of their current work is ‘Actions Not Excuses’, which has created multiple opportunities for the youth generation to take action for a fair, inclusive and green world and confront the planet’s most urgent crises.
Starting from the application process, I found that Raleigh International was a very approachable place of work with colleagues who had a collective interest in making real change for the youth generation, which I immediately wanted to be apart of. The interview was relatively relaxed, with my soon to be supervisor asking conversational questions which focused on finding out where my passions lie and how my past experiences would be beneficial for the work I would be doing. I found that, as an organisation, they really just wanted to get the best out of their staff and understand that everyone has their own strengths to harness, which was made evident throughout my time working at Raleigh.
In the role of Corporate Partnerships Intern, I worked with the Corporate Partnerships Team who were happy to provide me with a range of opportunities to grow my understanding of the role of funding and corporate collaboration in a sustainable development charity, as well as to contribute to the organisation’s current projects.
As a part of my role at Raleigh, I produced ethical check reports for potential company partners, conducted desk research on new business partnership prospects available, and finally, I researched and presented research on potential funding opportunities to the colleagues, including directors. I gained invaluable practical experience from these tasks as they allowed me to strengthen my ability to professionally communicate ideas, use the correct language, relevant content, and effectively deliver information with clear articulation.
Throughout the placement, I grew the ability to reflect on my own strengths as well as the skills in which I should focus on improving. This was made possible due to the constant feedback and evaluation of my performance with my supervisor and the Corporate Partnerships team during the placement, as well as the encouragement and flexibility from my supervisor to provide me with work that would best challenge me. This support from the team was something I valued most during my experience.
One skill I found that I had a lack of proficiency in was producing work with a non-academic writing style. With this in mind, both me and my supervisor decided to challenge my abilities and designate multiple creative writing tasks to me, such as the social media content creation for The Big Give and a blog that demonstrated the success of a recent Youth Hackathon event Raleigh Tanzania held. These tasks were the biggest challenges for me during the placement, but I found the outcomes most rewarding, with the content I created now being published on the organisation’s website and social media platforms.
This opportunity to work with Raleigh allowed me to acknowledge the development needs I have which are necessary for professional roles in this industry and work towards bettering my professional capabilities for future opportunities. For anyone who is considering a placement opportunity like this, I would recommend going in with an understanding of what you would like to gain from the experience whilst also keeping an open mind, being ready to invest yourself in a range of tasks that may be out of your comfort zone. This will allow you to both strengthen and diversify your professional skills. The better you are at communicating what it is you believe you can contribute, the more beneficial the time will be for you and the more valuable you will be to the team whose work as part of an NGO is so impactful.
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