My name is Maisie, I’m an ecology graduate. After months of writing up my thesis and being entirely screen-based during lockdown, I was feeling square-eyed, fatigued and longing to get out of the house. I especially wanted to be more involved in community and people-based projects happening around the city in response to COVID-19, so I happily took a COVID-19 SME Internship working for Bristol Food Union (BFU).
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.
Luke, a third year Zoology student, has written about his recent internship experience which was supported by our COVID-19 SME Internship Fund. The aim of this 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.
We know that many of you have had your summer internships and work experience cancelled or are struggling to find opportunities. Luke found himself in this situation and our COVID-19 SME Internship Fund offered him a new opportunity.
We know that Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students face specific and real barriers to career development. In light of the worldwide and local Black Lives Matter movement, we want to affirm our ongoing commitment to supporting our BAME students. (more…)
At the end of March, we posted a blog about the ways that you can continue to develop your skills and employability from home. As the lockdown has continued, we’ve seen more and more students taking up these remote activities and finding ways to adapt their plans or practices in response to COVID-19.
Read about the experiences of some of these students below.
Carlos Shanka Boissy Diaz – volunteering for the Green Impact Scheme from the Canary Islands
I am really passionate about sustainability so I applied to be an auditor with Green Impact in March. However, the lockdown came, and departments had to close their doors, which meant that I would not be able to audit in-person.
Luckily, The Green Impact staff team managed to transfer all our work online and it was extremely successful. I was able to interview the staff in the departments and review the work that they had done throughout the year virtually. It was really fun to have a chat with all of them.
I believe that now more than ever, other students should get involved in these sorts of opportunities. We are in a self-isolation bubble, where our minds are in more need of social interaction and our brains need different stimuli. Also, I feel it’ll be great for my employability, so, if possible, I advise others to stay active with volunteering from home!
Work experience is any opportunity which gives you experience of work, or the non-academic skills that will prepare you for work. It can be paid or unpaid experience and is not necessarily related to your degree or your future career plans. This can include internships, summer vacation jobs, volunteering, insight events and shadowing as well as self-driven projects.
Good quality work experience should:
- Teach you new skills including professional behaviours.
- Highlight which skills you need.
- Let you explore a career idea.
- Connect you to people you could use as contacts in the future.
- Improve your understanding of that sector.
- Demonstrate your interest in that sector.
- Provide you with a reference.
We know that many of you have had your summer internships and work experience cancelled or are struggling to find opportunities.
Here are some ways we’d suggest you look for new opportunities for this summer.
We have launched a new internship fund to provide paid work experience of 4 weeks within Bristol-based small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
What are Chambers of Commerce?
Chambers of Commerce are membership organisations which businesses can join to access services to help them grow and play a part in their local business community. They exist around the world at the local, regional and national level. Bristol Chamber of Commerce is run by Business West. You can easily find Chambers for your nearest home town or city, or home country, by searching online. For example, “[name of city] Chamber of Commerce.”