My COVID-19 SME Internship: Lily – Off The Record

Lily, a third year English student, has written about her recent internship experience which was supported by our COVID-19 SME Internship Fund. The aim of this fund was 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. 


My internship with Off The Record (OTR) provided me with a variety of tasks and projects to complete. particularly enjoyed the freedom I had to focus on the projects I found exciting.

OTR is a mental health social movement by and for young people aged 11-25 living in Bristol and South Gloucestershire providing free group and onetoone therapies. Their unique philosophy focuses on a strengths-based approach towards mental health, focusing on and recognising young people’s strengths before their vulnerabilities.  

My work 

Here are some examples of the projects I completed during my internship with OTR: 

  • Created social media content and videos to encourage more young people to access the services OTR provided during COVID-19. 
  • Assessed the OTR website for parts that could be visually improved upon with video content. 
  • Worked extensively on a project called ‘The Unspoken Truths of Lockdown’, editing together interviews with young people about their experiences of lockdown, creating 10-20 minute long episodes to be posted on InstagramFacebook and Youtube.

COVID-19 and my internship 

I was able to see the impact of the work I was doing for OTR and how it directly impacted the COVID-19 effort. Lockdown was and is a mentally difficult time for people of all ages. This, together with anxiety about the future and uncertainty about the effects of a global pandemic meant quick access to mental health support services was vital.  

The videos I created drew more young people to OTR’s social media pages, making them aware that OTR’s services were available if they felt that they needed the support. The ‘Unspoken Truths’ series encouraged young people to feel less alone during lockdown and supported them in feeling that the problems they were facing (despite not being talked about on mainstream media) were being discussed. 


Advice and insight 

I would thoroughly recommend this internship, here is some advice I’d give to other students: 

  • It’s important to realise that as much as your line manager wants to support you as much as they can, but creating specific tasks for you to complete on a daily basis also takes a lot of time out of their working day, so being proactive is very helpful. 
  • To make the above point more manageable, it’s helpful to have one or two main projects that you are working on that you can revert back to if you have not been given a specific task to complete that day. 
  • Take advantage of being asked you to do something in a field you aren’t so sure about, or something that is a bit out of your comfort zone – for example OTR asked me to create some graphic video edits and I am used to editing video rather than creating graphics from scratch. OTR allowed me a day to familiarise myself with the new software and to create a few practice videos and by the end of the internship I had really got to grips with it. It is now a new skill that I can add to my CV! 

Get involved

The SME Internship Scheme – Widening Participation Fund is now open and we are advertising internship opportunities through mycareer. 

Watch our new intro video on the WP Fund to learn about finding a paid internship this academic year. 

There are also many other work experience opportunities listed here. 

If you’re struggling with writing applications, you’ll find some useful resources and events here to help. 

Need more support? Get in touch via Live Chat on mycareer.