Thinking ahead

The DRIVEN programme is the University of Derby’s GRADS for D2N2 project. The GRADS for D2N2 project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and is part of the ESF High Level Skills programme. The programme is delivered by the University of Derby as part of the High Level Skills consortium which also includes Nottingham Trent University, Derby College, Nottingham College, and Nottingham City Council.

European Social Funding blue and white banner

As a second-year BA (Hons) Writing and Publishing student, I felt that it would be useful to develop some practical work experience before I graduated. I hoped that this would demonstrate to potential future employers how I’d taken the initiative to sharpen the skills learned in my course as well as taking the time to develop new ones.

This led me to look at the University of Derby On-Campus Internship Scheme (OCIS) which I discovered through the careers and employment service area of the website. The programme gives students an opportunity to apply for a paid internship in a department or support function within the University.

There are three different areas that a student can apply to work in these include digital, projects, events and research. I felt that working in a digital capacity would offer a more rounded opportunity to build on some of the skills applicable from my course. I had studied modules covering marketing and print and digital production prior to taking on the role.

Following my successful initial application form and assessment. I was offered a 120-hour internship with the DRIVEN team. DRIVEN is a programme that supports students and graduates of the University of Derby, to gain professional work experience in a variety of roles with local employers across a range of industries. As an OCIS-digital intern, I was asked to support the Marketing and Events officer, Richard Barber, and the DRIVEN team in delivering a marketing and events campaign to promote the launch of 62 internship roles in February 2020.

One of my responsibilities was to support the team with events preparation for the DRIVEN Internship Fair and a series of DRIVEN and Doughnuts pop-up events. I also supported the promotion of these events by drafting internal communications, designing visuals for social media, editing promotional videos, and scheduling social media content.

I helped with the promotion and delivery of a 2020 Vision event held by DRIVEN to further support their engagement with local businesses. Early discussions with my line manager allowed me to flexibly, fit in time to complete the internship alongside my studies and we quickly set up a timeline of what hours I would be working and a list of project objectives and deadlines. The internship enabled me to enhance skills developed in my University modules, including copy-editing and proof-reading, and my eye for detail was also sharpened as I reviewed podcast and video captioning.

My final project was to produce an infographic that demonstrated the impact of the complete marketing and events campaign as well as the results of the time I had contributed. This task pulled together all the skills that I developed within the role, from developing the infographic design, to collating the evaluation data and then thinking strategically about the presentation in order to best demonstrate the impact.

I feel that the OCIS role has challenged me to do my best work and I feel I was consistently encouraged and supported by the whole of the Careers and Employment Service throughout the entire period. The team is so friendly and inviting, and the overwhelmingly positive feedback I’ve received has greatly, improved my self-confidence. I now feel that I can succeed in a similar professional workplace environment once I graduate in summer 2021, and I can’t wait.

Thank you to Richard, the DRIVEN team, and in particular the Student Employment Agency for making the OCIS Internship possible. I would encourage any student who wants to develop their confidence and transferable skills in the workplace to take on a similar experience.

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