Adenike Adesanya – Research Data Services Development Officer – BUIP Internship – Interim Blog


The title of my post is ‘Research Data Services Development Officer’. It took me a while to get used to saying that, but I think I actually like how fancy it sounds.Day 1

I applied for this internship on a whim, I’d already planned to go on a 5-week long Clinical Psychology placement in Sri Lanka. I’d applied, got a place and paid my deposit in my 1st year. I was planning on applying for the International work experience bursary and Gateway bursary, but I decided to try something different (where I’d get paid) and in the UK as well, because in the summer after my 1st year I went to Germany for a Psychology summer school programme. I had a look on the Careers Network page and came across the BUIP roles. I applied and four months later plus an interview, here I am writing a blog piece about my experience so far on my internship.

Day 0

I planned out my outfit for the week ahead, because I knew back-to-back 9am starts wouldn’t really be my thing.

Day 1

My line manager (Jill) asked me to meet her in the Main Library reception at 9:15 am. I actually sent her an email when I was done with my exams, asking if there was anything she’d like me to get started on or to know before I resumed for work. I also asked for feedback on the interview. She sent me an article but also said I could read it in my 1st week, and was nice enough to send feedback on the interview, (I would recommend getting feedback from absolutely everything you do, interview, work experience etc.).Day 20 Elevator Selfie

I had my 1st meeting with Jill (have I mentioned how lovely she is yet?) from 9:15 am until about 10:15 am. 10:15 am until about 10:30 am I was shown around and introduced to people. Afterwards I got shown my work area and had to read through the University’s health and safety policies among other policies as well as sign some documents. 12:00 pm lunchtime!!! (note to self, breakfast is important, very important!). The rest of the day was spent settling down into the new environment and reading up and familiarising myself with information on Research Data Management (RDM). Two other people were in the office with me, they were really nice and welcoming. Someone offered to make me tea (putting to shame the misconception of interns being the ones to get people tea). 5:00 pm came around pretty fast.

The past 5 weeks have gone by pretty fast, I’ve had meetings with key people involved in the University’s Research data management, from the PURE manager to the Assistant Director of Library Academic Engagement and of Collection Management and Development to someone from IT services and also an RDM trainer who turned out to be the subject adviser for my school.1001 post-it notes

I’ve sat in on high-level meetings, been to Careers Network (CN) workshops, done a CN presentation, worked through FAQs sent in by EPSRC researchers about RDM, worked through 1001 post-it-notes and presented them in an appropriate format, done lots of desk-research about RDM, funders requirements, UoB’s provision and other Russell group universities provision. Presently I’m working on a report which will summarise all this information and highlight areas where UoB could step up and improve as well as provide pointers on what could be done. I’ve written lots of reports as part of my Psychology degree requirements, but this might just be my most important one yet.

(Look out for an update in my next blog piece)

By Adenike Adesanya 

William James – Digital Content Producer – BUIP Internship – Final Blog

My time within LES working as a Digital Content Producer has simply flown by, during which I’ve achieved a huge amount and gained fantastic new skills. I’ve also improved my employability, and I’m actively seeing content I’ve produced have practical applications across the College. I’ve really enjoyed my time as a BUIP intern, and I’m quite sad that it’s over really.

I feel I’ve really developed my professional etiquette and technical skills due to my time working in LES. The content which I’ve tackled has been extremely varied, meaning one week I’ve been producing a video, the next designing a booklet and the week after that a website. This has required me to use a different piece of software for each task, allowing me to improve the skills I already had, such as experience with video editing software, and learn new skills, such as Web design.

In addition to developing my skills, I’ve solidified in my mind how to approach a professional workplace, and how to communicate with other members of staff appropriately. Everyone who I’ve worked with has been extremely friendly and happy to help, and I’ve never felt that I was unwanted or useless. A BUIP internship certainly isn’t just making cups of coffee for everyone else! I’ve had to work with a broad range of people, and more often than not, different people for different tasks. This has meant the application of effective communication and people skills have been crucial.

Although at times I’ve had to work with a large number of people, much of the work has largely been independent, which is something that I really enjoyed. I’ve learnt how to overcome difficult challenges without necessarily asking for help, and also think my way around a problem while balancing other challenging tasks. I’ve really enjoyed the independence that came with this internship to be honest, and its something I’ll be looking for from future positions.

The highlight of the internship however, has been when my manager asked me to stay on for another week. I felt that I’d worked really hard, and that my managers were very impressed with the work I was producing. It’s certainly something which I’ll be able to mention in a future cover letter. Although it means another week without a break, I think it will definitely be worth it in the long run. I think the most important thing I’ve gained during my time within LES has been an idea of where I want my career to take me. I definitely want to do something creative, which also involves working on a very broad range of projects and working closely with lots of different people. I’ve now got some professional experience to back me up and technical skills to match, meaning I’m confident I’ll be able to go where I want when I graduate or look at applying for other internships in the future.

Overall, I’ve found the experience to be rewarding an enjoyable and I would definitely encourage any Birmingham undergraduate to apply to the BUIP program. The professional experience you gain is invaluable, and gives you a chance to really apply some of the skills you have in the real world, while also perhaps gaining material and elements you can put into a portfolio and show to potential employers. It’s also highly beneficial to see the inner workings of higher education and work with some fantastic people during your time as a BUIP intern.

By William James 

William James – Digital Content Producer – The College of Life and Environmental Science -BUIP Internship

As I approach the halfway point of my internship, I’ve realised just how quickly the time has passed and how much I have achieved. I’ve met some fantastic people during my time within the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, and improved some of the skills that I already have and also learned some new ones.

I expected being an intern would definitely be a challenge, and it has been. Its very fast paced, and after you’ve worked with a lot of people, you find you have a lot of emails to deal with first thing in the morning before you can start any work you had planned. Its certainly interesting and something I’d recommend to anyone who is considering applying for an internship.

So far, I’ve tackled a variety of tasks, which have required the application of a number of skills. During the production of my first Health and Safety video for first year lab inductions, I used almost half a dozen individual pieces of software to process audio and video to produce a high quality result. This video is now going to be used in September when the new undergraduates join the University and is really good material to add to a CV. This was a task I undertook and organized myself, away from any outside help from line managers and the like.

Will 1The independence is something you have to get used to. Simon, my manager, initially set me a few tasks to complete, however, once he was satisfied I was relatively capable, I was free to source my own work and complete it by myself. Arranging meetings is something strange as well; you’re not treated as a student, but as a work colleague by the people you’re working with, even if they’re teaching fellows or managers. It definitely helps you build confidence talking to a different group of people everyday once you’ve got a couple of meetings under your belt.

With that in mind, its nice that as an intern that if you feel you can’t do something, there’s plenty of help available. Simon gave me contact details of technical training for a couple of things. Fortunately, I haven’t had to use any of it yet, and I feel like I’ve dealt with the majority of issues I’ve faced really well. The work is challenging, but not impossible, and certainly enjoyable for me.

I’ve still got half the internship to go, and hope to be continuing to work hard and contributing towards LES. Currently, I’m working on a Health and Safety document which relates to the British Geological survey. It’s over 100 pages long. I’m also improving the layout of Risk Assessment forms to encourage academics to stop cutting corners.Will 2 Hopefully, LES will get as much from me as I have from them, and its going to be exciting to see my work being applied in September, providing the results I collect from the survey I’m using to evaluate my work are positive. My work may even have far reaching effects, as people from the Collaborative Teaching Project have been expressing an interest in the evaluation of my work, and the data I gather regarding it’s success.

I’m really enjoying my time working in LES; its very rewarding and challenging, and everyone I work with seems to be very satisfied with their jobs. I actually think its making me consider a career in Higher Education, which I hadn’t previously considered. I can only hope the remainder of the internship is as rewarding and challenging as the experience has been so far.

By William James