Hi, I’m Rob. This year I graduated (albeit not in person!) with a MSci Chemistry degree, and carried out an internship as a Business Analyst with Gapsquare through the COVID-19 SME Internship Fund. Gapsquare is a start-up in Bristol championing inclusive employer practises, pay equity and the elimination of the gender, racial and wider inequality pay gaps through the intelligent use of data.
What did you do?
My main project involved developing an online dashboard containing data and insights relating to crisis strategy in the context of fair workforce management. This involved researching, compiling and producing insights based on different datasets; from furloughing rates to uptake of workforce reskilling programmes. I then worked with a member of the platform development team to realise this in an online application containing interactive graphs and narratives.
Day-to-day tasks included researching data sources, data formatting in excel, liaising with the other members of the team, as well as creative thinking when helping design the dashboard’s user interface.
How did your work contribute to the COVID-19 effort?
The main purpose of this dashboard was to provide data and insights to businesses relating to best practise in terms of their crisis strategy whilst treating their workers fairly. The data related to how other businesses had reacted, what the main risks as a result of COVID-19 were and how businesses are emerging to build resilience in the face of crisis. These data models were often interactive so that users could compare different industries and regions to see how they differ from other businesses.
The long-term aim of the dashboard is to build a community where businesses can contribute advice to one another, and to ensure the data is live and up to date, where possible. The hope is that by using this dashboard, businesses can minimise job losses whilst maintaining trust, loyalty and financial stability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
What were your key takeaways from this experience?
I found this to be a very rewarding experience, building my exposure to collaborative working in the real world, outside of university group projects and raising my commercial awareness.
One of the key skills I improved through this project was approaching tasks with a logical mindset. I broke down the seemingly open-ended task into smaller, more manageable pieces that I could more easily research. This allowed me to clearly frame different approaches to crisis strategy for clients and I then sorted these smaller pieces into three clear sections: Risk, Reaction and Resilience. The ability to succinctly and clearly communicate key ideas, whilst envisaging what a client would find most useful, was another skill I improved during this project.
I would wholeheartedly recommend undertaking an internship, as this gave me my first experience outside of science in a more business-orientated environment – something I thoroughly enjoyed! It gave me the opportunity to apply the skills I had gained from my degree to solving real-world problems, giving me a true sense of fulfilment.
The aim of the COVID-19 SME Internship Fund is to support local SMEs including charities, social enterprises and start-up who are operating at maximum capacity as they respond to the challenges of Coronavirus, while giving students valuable and meaningful work experiences in a difficult economic climate.
Interested? We are still advertising internships through our schemes mycareer. There are also many other work experience opportunities listed here.
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