Michael - Green Space and Heritage

MichaelI currently study Economics at the University of East Anglia where I have just finished my first year. This summer I have been working for the council within they’re Green Spaces and Heritage team. What attracted me to the council and the role was the excellent opportunity to experience working full-time in an office environment, something I hadn’t done prior to the internship.

My time at here was split 50:50 between activities and tasks within my service area and those beyond it. Within my team cardinal tasks of mine were identifying and reporting areas within the district that pose potential wildfire risk, supporting event delivery and checking the condition of footpaths in the council’s various outdoor spaces. The latter two were not only educational endeavours, but also loads of fun! I learnt and supported in the delivery of events such as the Commonwealth Games baton relay, outdoor theatre, and a visit by judges from the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom, all of which took place at the Abbey Gardens. Also, my work concerning footpaths required me to go out on site visits independently which was great as this allowed me, as a non-native of Suffolk, to learn a substantial amount about the area.

Beyond my team, I was primarily collaborating with my fellow interns on a joint project we were leading. The aim of the project was to gain community buy-in for a rewilding initiative the council is considering. This was a challenging and multi-pronged endeavour which we ultimately completed by optimising the different strengths of every member of the team. For example, one was very attentive so was great at notetaking and recording the discussions of our countless meetings for future reference; another was highly creative so inexhaustibly came up with innovative and exciting ideas; and the other was well-articulated so was highly effective in communicating our needs, aims and actions to relevant stakeholders. My strength and main contribution was a critical eye; identifying potential contingencies and oversight as we made strides. This made for a dream team! Overall, the project was a great experience in project management and one that will conceivably prove salutary in our later studies and careers.

On the whole, I am grateful for the experience and opportunity I have had with West Suffolk Council. The programme is comprehensive: training, challenging, and exposing us to the various facets of professional life. Using this justification and reasoning, I would encourage this internship to fellow students considering applying.