Hello! I’m Dan and I’m in my third year of studying History.
I recently undertook an SME Internship with St Werburghs City Farm (SWCF), a charity providing vital community services for people from all ages and backgrounds facing disadvantages by connecting them to their food in various ways.
My role as Communications and Engagement Intern involved considering how the farm engages with its visitors/audience in an impactful way and conducting research – and petting the farm animals!
What did I actually do?
2020 was the farm’s 40th anniversary and they were planning to throw a huge celebration which, like all things, was thwarted by COVID-19. In an effort to prepare the farm for a COVID-conscious celebration, I was asked to archive all their dusty photos and old press releases from the last 40 years. Essentially, I digitised their contents onto large databases for future reference and then re-stored these historical documents in safer and more organised systems.
I also researched membership options offered by similar organisations which will be used to inform the farm’s re-modelling of their current membership scheme… Oh, and I also fed some farm animals!
What have I taken from this internship?
The Bristol PLUS Award taught me how I can reflect on the world of work in a constructive way – a principle I have carried into my internship. Given that I am studying History, a largely non-vocational subject, I have found the opportunity to apply my degree to a specific job role very useful. It has honed my social research skills and pushed me to work more collaboratively. In this way it is a solid example of those employability buzzwords we put into our CVs.
I have a new-found appreciation of the importance of organisations and charities like SWCF for their local communities. By helping those who face disadvantages, the farm has consistently been a focal point for the community in St Werburghs, and Bristol more broadly, which is very tangible in the historical documents I have been archiving.
I have also learnt that goats will literally eat anything (including my once favourite jumper).
What advice do I have to offer?
The application process
The most beneficial thing I did was spending time researching the farm, and others like it, in order to stand out in the application process. As with any job I apply to, I wrote a ‘personalised’ covering letter using the research I’d done. Also, don’t be too picky because, at our stage, any experience is informative – even if it establishes that you definitely don’t want to pursue that particular career path.
During the internship
During the internship I recommend that you always take the initiative because you get out of the experience what you put in – so make decisions for yourself, learn by making mistakes, collaborate as much as possible, and ask lots of questions!
Oh, and sheep really enjoy a bit of pumpkin!
Find an internship
As Dan found, internships can be a great way to get work experience while you’re studying.
Interested? The COVID-19 SME Internship Fund is now open, find out more on our website, including how to source your own internship.
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.