September 12, 2022, by Rebekah
My Placement with Think for the Future
by Megan Mahoney, Geography student
During the Easter break, I was fortunate enough to do a placement with the Lenton-based company ‘Think for the Future’. They specialise in peer mentoring for primary and secondary school children across England. I thoroughly enjoyed my three weeks with them and have lots to share about my experience!
The application process
I found out about the Easter Widening Participation placement scheme via an email from the Faculty Placements Team, checked I was eligible, and instantly applied for a role. This involved updating my CV to ensure it was relevant to the job description and writing a cover letter explaining why I was interested. After a Zoom interview, I was informed that although I was one of the final two candidates being considered for the role, unfortunately I was not successful. I was disheartened, but the company contacted me with extensive feedback that I knew would be useful in the future. However, a few days later, the Placements Team got in touch to say there was a vacancy for another role they believed I was perfect for, so with my permission they sent my CV to this company. After a short Zoom interview, I was accepted for this new role at Think for the Future, and it reaffirmed my belief that everything happens for a reason! Therefore, I would advise anyone to apply for a placement, and to see rejection as a learning curve rather than a failure, because it is impossible to know what other opportunity may come along.
The work experience itself
During my time at Think for the Future, I was working with another intern to quality check presentations that would be delivered to students. This involved ensuring they were relevant to today’s young people, the spelling and grammar was correct and moving them to a new, professional format. After this was complete, the final week of my placement involved creating presentations from scratch. I particularly enjoyed this because I could be creative, and I feel proud that the presentations I made will be delivered to thousands of students across England.
I loved working in an office environment for the first time. I found it easy to slip into the routine of waking up early for work, making a packed lunch, walking to office and working until 4pm. I requested a week to work from home so I could visit my family over the Easter period which they were very accommodating about. The staff were super friendly, and it helped having a fellow UoN intern with me who I could bounce ideas off. I also utilised the opportunity to speak to the CEO of Think for the Future, who began the company while at UoN and has seen it grow exponentially in the ten years since. This was inspiring to hear and I would advise any future interns to find time to chat to their co-workers because their experience and knowledge is invaluable.
My initial rejection for the first placement I applied for made me doubt myself and my abilities; I was not sure if I was capable to be an intern in my second year. However, I clearly was just not the right fit for the first company, and without that rejection I would not have experienced the great time I had at Think for the Future. I was also nervous about working in an office environment for the first time with people who had lots of industry experience, and that I would be a little fish in a big pond. But all the staff were welcoming and helpful, they made me feel part of the team. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and having this Easter placement has undoubtedly helped me this summer in securing a 12-week paid internship in an office in London.
Just apply for an internship! I am so thankful to the Social Sciences Placements Team for helping me to apply to the Easter Widening Participation Programme. The funding was particularly useful as it covered my living costs while remaining in Nottingham for the Easter and was a decent wage that I earned for my three weeks of work. Being from an underprivileged background means it can be more difficult to have the connections to gain an internship, or the inability to take an unpaid role. Therefore, a scheme like this is essential and students who are eligible should take up this opportunity.
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