My SME Internship: Olivia – Bristol Women’s Voice 

This International Women’s Day we’d like to celebrate how our students can make a difference. A great example is Olivia’s SME Internship with a women’s charity in Bristol, here’s what she had to say about her experience. 

A head and shoulders portrait of Olivia

Hello! I’m Olivia, a 3rd year Politics and International Relations student. Last summer I participated in the SME Internship Scheme with Bristol Women’s Voice, a women’s organisation tackling gender issues and inequalities within Bristol. Throughout my internship I learnt about their role in supporting the city’s most marginalised women who experience intersectional disadvantage in day-to-day life and often need support and tools to help better their circumstances. My experience solidified my desire to enter a career in the women’s sector, whilst enhancing my want to enter policy-making spaces to get more resources and funding directed at this extremely under resourced, and often unprioritised sector. 

At the start of the summer, we sat down to discuss my intentions and expectations for the internship. If given the opportunity, I would highly recommend this to other students, as it was a great way of tracking your progress and acknowledging anything you haven’t yet achieved.  

During the internship, my tasks included:

  • Researching, liaising, and booking local host centres and event facilitators to run some of their community projects. This improved my scheduling, logistical planning, and comms skills, as well as learning more about the amazing organisations eager to support women across the city. 
  • Practising new skills, such as applying for funding bids, a crucial skill for working within the non-profit sector.  
  • Attending multiple meetings and events within the city. For instance, I sat in on a Bristol Women’s Commission meeting, a Bristol Equalities Network Meeting, and a Bristol Changing Futures Meeting. 
  • Completing mini research projects and blog posts for the organisation’s website. This allowed me to move away from the usual academic writing style and write in a more informal way.  
  • I also completed some work for SARSAS – for example, I was tasked with creating a newsletter temple to fit their recent relaunch. This involved learning to use marketing software and develop design skills, whilst ensuring I consistently aligned with SARSAS’s Style Sheet.  

I would recommend applying to take part in the SME Internship Scheme to any students looking for work experience. Being the first in my family to attend university, the world of internships, placements etc. was very new to me before this. I believe the skills I have gained from it, and the support from the scheme facilitators, will significantly benefit my future career search.   

I also recommend approaching organisations that aren’t advertising for interns, as this is what I did. Often, especially in the non-profit sector, there won’t be the capacity to fund internships, despite the help being so desperately needed, but the fact that the SME Internship Scheme is funded by the university makes it a win-win for the company and for the student – so go for it and be confident in your approach! 

There are many other charities and organisations in Bristol and across the UK whose work is focussed on women’s rights, wellbeing and safety. A few other examples that our interns have worked with include:  

  • One25 – a Bristol women’s charity which reaches out to some of the city’s most marginalised women. 
  • Women’s Environmental Network – aiming for an environmentally sustainable world in which we have achieved gender, racial and social justice. 

The SME Internship Scheme 

The SME Internship Scheme is open and we are currently advertising internships that you can apply for. Check out our website for more information, and details on how to participate.  

If you have any questions about the scheme, or anything else relating to careers you can speak to us on live chat. You can also read more blogs in our “My SME internship” series to hear about other SMEs that our interns have worked with.