Prior to submitting my application for the BUIP internship opportunity, I had spent some time trying to decide exactly what I wanted to do over the summer. As a mature student, I have been fortunate enough to have already amassed valuable work experience. However, I knew that I didn’t want to accept just any kind of summer office job – I was keen to seek out opportunities that could plug gaps in my skillset, expand the CV, and also evidence links to my degree programme. I felt that a combination of these factors could ultimately aid in developing my future plans for a career in Public Policy. Thus, I jumped at the chance to apply for the BUIP opportunity…
As a ‘Higher Education Review Administrator’, I have been tasked with providing support to staff in the Policy Team at Registry. The team’s function is vital to the institution; through responding to government policy and standards set by the independent regulator, it ensures that the institution strives to enhance the student experience, delivering a truly world-class learning environment for all. The University is due to be assessed by the QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) early next year and The Policy Team has been hard at work writing a report that will be submitted to the reviewers that evidences how the University meets and exceeds the QAA’s quality code. The outcome of the report could potentially impact upon the institutions’ reputation, and is understandably treated as critical priority project.
Before joining the team, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the opportunity beyond the job specification. When discussed in the real world, the term ‘Intern’ seems to have negative connotations. However, I’m pleased to say that any fears I had were unfounded (I’m yet to be asked to manage the coffee run). From the very first day at the office, my colleagues have made me feel like part of the team. I have also had the opportunity to meet with all senior members of staff in registry. This has enhanced my understanding of the varied and complex work that is undertaken by the department. I have also been invited out for team lunches, and just last week attended the Academic Services Summer BBQ. But, of course there has been plenty of work to do alongside all that!
In my capacity as ‘Higher Education Review Administrator’ my work has been based around gathering evidence and making arrangements for the completion of a report that will be submitted to the reviewers. To my astonishment, I have been allowed to manage my own workload with considerable autonomy, despite the numerous deadlines. A lot of my work is desk-based and I have made full use of computer applications, the knowledge of my colleagues and my own research skills in order to gather the information that is necessary for the project. This has definitely helped develop my communication, organisation and time-management skills, whilst also providing me with experiences that will prove that I am able to work independently. My colleagues have also been very keen to hear any feedback that I might have, actively encouraging ideas to be put forward.
Meanwhile, Careers Network has produced a number of really helpful training workshops which provide an insight into CV writing, Interviews and Presentation skills. These are definitely useful at this stage of my degree as I start making plans for life beyond University.
Being able to see the inner-workings of the University has been a terrific experience. The sheer amount of projects and services that operate to improve the experience of students is simply brilliant, and it really has altered my perception on how much work goes on behind the scenes to make our student experiences even more fulfilling. My final year will most certainly be viewed through a different lens.
I am currently mid-way through my placement, and I have already gained so much from the experience. On a personal level, it has proven that these opportunities are open to students of all ages, and I would actively encourage others to consider applying in the future. While, in terms of my academic Interests, I can see parallels with some of the theories’ of policy making and implementation that have surfaced in my degree; this will considerably enhance my postgraduate study application next year. On a professional level, being involved in such a unique and high profile project will certainly take centre stage on my CV and provide some terrific examples to draw from when those dreaded interviews commence in the near future. However, I now feel more confident and comfortable working with high levels of autonomy and feel that I will be more than able to evidence skills that are so vital in many graduate jobs.
With just five weeks to go until the end of my placement, I eagerly anticipate the next stages of my placement as the focus shifts from evidence gathering. I look forward to updating you all next month!