Birmingham City Council Internship
My role as a research Officer with the Birmingham city council involved talking with families, involved in social services, about their experiences of the Family group Conference (FGC), a fairly new service offered the Birmingham city council; I collated both quantitative and qualitative data about family member’s experiences and outcome post-service. My responsibilities included generating telephone and face-to-face interview questions, creating further information handouts to leave with families, to contact families’ social workers and conduct interviews. I additionally had the opportunity to attend a FGC (this is a family decision making and planning process, facilitated by an Independent Co-ordinator) intervention meeting and a review meeting to understand the procedure.
In terms of my achievements during the internship, I was proud that I was getting the voices of families heard and having the evidence to back up their arguments. Getting the council’s attention regarding the high turnover of social workers and delayed interventions for families was of paramount importance since these things are detrimental to their lives.
Furthermore, I have definitely improved my ability to talk sensitively with individuals. I also learnt technical skills useful for many different work environments such as using excel, scheduling appointments and working in an open office surrounded by many different teams and people. However, I really struggled with the short amount of time to complete tasks I was given; I found there was simply not enough time to complete the thematic analysis for the qualitative data to an exceptional standard and format that into a report, after conducting all other areas of the research – but since this experience, I feel my ability to work in time frames has improved greatly.
This experience was additionally useful in helping me to recognise that to further my future career I really need to acquire a greater understanding of family dynamics and later outcomes – which is great, I also feel this experience helps me stand out from the crowd in terms of employment as not many other psychology students have had these opportunities. But all in all, the best parts for me were interviewing families and helping them to have their say because I love working with and meeting new people. The Birmingham city council are keen to get more students involve in their research as part of outcome measures for their services so be sure to enquire!