George - Waste and Street Scene

Photo of GeorgeThis internship was of great interest to me, as it was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the challenges and opportunities faced by local government.

My internship project was to raise awareness of the health and wellbeing benefits available to front line operational staff at the council. I researched the health and wellbeing services that were available and discussed these with the staff. I learned about the key barriers to the use of these services, and how these barriers could be reduced.

I presented the information in highly visual posters, leaflets, and speech bubbles, which were handed out and located at well frequented, visible locations, spreading awareness.

I hosted two health and wellbeing events with a BBQ, attended by over 180 staff, and several professionals from outside charities and organisations. The front-line staff were able to discuss their health and wellbeing in person, receive advice and support about various services as well as have their blood pressure taken.

I received feedback about the event, from the outside professionals and through a questionnaire handed out to staff, which I was then able to analyse and present the findings.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and demonstrated that staff had engaged with the stands, talked to the outside professionals, and learned about new services that were available to them. Staff were seen taking an active interest in their health and wellbeing which was excellent.

In addition to this as a group of interns, our project was to gain an understanding of the factors relating to a decline in volunteer numbers and donations to local charities and organisations within West Suffolk.

I helped to create an internal survey for staff, to gain an understanding of the volunteering roles currently being undertaken by them and whether this was done though the council volunteering scheme.

I helped to organise several visits to various charities and organisations around the district and learned a great deal about varying factors influencing volunteer numbers and donations.

We attended Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall markets to spread awareness of volunteering opportunities within West Suffolk and gain an understanding of the common themes regarding incentives and barriers to volunteering.

I have had a great experience at West Suffolk Council and would recommend this internship to other students looking to gain a strong understanding of how public bodies operate whilst learning work-based skills, which are transferrable to your university studies and beyond.