Ben - Environmental Health

Photo of Ben

You might not expect Commercial Environmental Health and Licensing to be a natural fit for a Politics and International Studies student, but I felt that the opportunity to see how regulations and policies are implemented, as well as the role of the local authority in supporting communities and businesses was too good to pass up. The 12 weeks I have spent at West Suffolk Council totally surpassed any expectations I had coming into the placement. 

The sheer variety of projects and tasks I was able to take part in gave me a comprehensive overview of the role of the Environmental Health and Licensing teams. Whether it be a project on workplace transport, accompanying officers on food hygiene inspections or working to update the council’s record systems for licenses, every day offered something new to learn or try.

I was lucky enough to be able to bring in some of the skills from my degree and wider university experiences into the workplace. A project surrounding wheelchair accessible vehicles meant I could tie in my experiences working with disability groups at university, whilst our intern group project gave me the opportunity to work on social media strategies, press releases and a detailed comparative analysis of policies (which was far more interesting than I’ve made it sound!).

The group project was an incredible opportunity to work across teams with the other interns on something that would hopefully leave a legacy. It gave me the opportunity to learn from and engage with so many people and groups across West Suffolk and allowed me to test and challenge myself by working on tasks well outside of my comfort zone. My favourite part of the group project was getting out on the market stalls and engaging with members of the public.

I will absolutely go back to the University of Warwick with local government in mind as a prospective career. If you are reading this wondering whether this internship might be for you, I would encourage you to go for it- my one tip would be not to be afraid of going beyond the comfort zone of your degree. Even if you can’t immediately see a placement that fits naturally with your subject, there will be ways you can link in your experience. 

I have had such a wonderful time here. Everyone at the council has been welcoming, kind and willing to give their time and energy to explain and support all the interns, and I cannot say thank you enough!