Chin Wei - Public Health and Housing

Chin WeiI am a penultimate year Civil Engineering student at the University of Nottingham. Having a goal to eventually build quality for the community, I wanted to see and experience the state of housing and urban planning in the UK for myself. This internship proved to be the opportunity I was looking for.

I was given the opportunity by and assigned to the Public Health and Housing team. The main responsibilities of the team include regulating landlords and making sure residents in HMOs(Houses in Multiple Occupation) have a decent living environment. Tasked with assisting a HMO review, I read through HMO enforcement and operation manuals, understood landlord and tenant management regulations, joined in inspections with council officers, and even had discussions with various team members on my own initiative regarding current workflows and best practices. Along with the review, I consolidated various data points to create a landlord rating system for future licensing and suggested ways to automate data analysis such that a rolling review can be done after my time with the council.

As interns we were also tasked with kickstarting the council's rewilding efforts as part of the council's response to the climate emergency. We were tasked to identify suitable sites and draft out a promotional plan to get community buy-in for the rewilding initiative, which gave us plenty of opportunity to brainstorm, interact and work together. This involved reading through environmental audits, exploring the council’s GIS system, researching similar initiatives from other councils, and talking to numerous people within the council in our site selection process. We then came up with a step-by-step promotional plan along with a website, site sign and leaflet design as promotional materials, with emphasis on mandated accessibility metrics.

Furthermore, we were given plenty of opportunities to contribute and participate in the council's various teams' work, as well as having fun in team building activities. The people at West Suffolk Council were very friendly, welcoming, and supportive. I had almost no trouble settling into my role at the council and getting to know other teams’ work.

This internship will be a valuable insight I will keep for the rest of my working life, and it was also a great opportunity to make a tangible and lasting impact to the community, as with the rewilding initiative!