My name is Ruben Brown and I am a second-year Sociology student from the University of Sheffield. I chose to study Sociology because I want to become an Equality and Diversity Officer and make sure that people have the same opportunities regardless of their socio-economic background. Over the summer I have been fortunate enough to have had a summer internship with Ignite Imaginations. This placement appealed to me because I could see how passionate Ignite Imaginations are about ensuring everyone has an outlet to express their creativity. This internship has given me a key insight into how a charity organises themselves and makes sure their work is effective, but it has also showed me how important the work Ignite Imaginations does for the community and the individuals who use their services.
Before I started the internship, I was looking forward to working with a Charity and seeing the positive impact they had on the community. I applied for the internship with Ignite Imaginations because I know how important an outlet for your creativity is and I wanted to see how Ignite Imaginations were making sure everyone had the opportunity to do this. Before starting my internship, I was unaware of the work Ignite Imaginations was doing but it quickly became apparent how valuable the workshops were to those who engaged in them.
Whilst applying for the internship we were still in a heavy lockdown which meant finding work was difficult. I knew I wanted to work over the summer but after struggling to find any full-time work I decided to see if there were any opportunities for Volunteering in Sheffield, this is where I found the application for the internship and decided to give it a go! Fortunately, the internship could be completed remotely which meant I had to quickly get used to Zoom calls and working from home.
My internship has flown by and has had so many highlights! Something that sticks out to me is one of the first in-person workshops I attended at Highfield Adventure Playground where the children were making glow in the dark jars. This sticks out to me as a highlight because after the lockdown period it felt brilliant to finally be able to see the work Ignite Imaginations was doing in person but also felt good to finally be able to see other people. I could tell how important these workshops are to all those who attended and all the glow in the dark jars created were fantastic!
Another highlight of my internship with Ignite Imaginations has been working on the ‘My 2020 Story’ campaign. Ignite Imaginations allowed me to take the reins for this campaign and use my own ideas to form the direction for the campaign. We settled on the name ‘My 2020 Story’ because we wanted to illustrate that 2020 has been a unique experience for all of us. We didn’t want to use the words ‘virus’ or ‘lockdown’ because we wanted to see how people had expressed their creativity despite Corona Virus. I have really enjoyed working on this campaign and working on the preparation and planning of it. Working on this campaign has given me so much valuable experience that I know I will take with me in both my personal and professional life.
One of the trickier things about my placement has been adjusting to working from home. Unfortunately, I have not been able to meet any of the Ignite Imaginations team in person due to the current circumstances, which means we have been meeting over Zoom. This brings with it its own set of challenges including using patchy Wi-Fi and making sure my video camera is in the right position! Whilst working from home has been a unique situation to get used to it did get easier with time, and now I feel more adjusted to meeting over Zoom. Working from home has allowed me to manage my time better by fitting the work for my internship around my own life and this is something I know will be useful through out the rest of my degree!
This internship has given me much more confidence in myself and my ability to work independently, I have felt like a valuable part of the team at Ignite Imaginations and my ideas are always listened to and supported. I have had such a valuable insight into how a charity works and organises itself, I have found it interesting to see how all the different members of the team contribute to the smooth running of the charity. It is clear to see that everyone in the Ignite Imaginations team plays a key role in making sure they are successful. Not only do I feel more confident in my own ideas, but I feel more confident working with others to put our ideas together to achieve a greater goal.
Overall, I am so grateful to have had an internship with Ignite Imaginations this summer and I would encourage anyone who wants to develop both professionally and personally to apply for an internship next summer! I know that the skills I have picked up from my time with Ignite Imaginations will help me throughout my future career. Seeing the positive impact Ignite Imaginations has on the community has been so rewarding, I am so pleased to have played a part in assisting Ignite Imaginations and contributing to their success.
Finally, I want to wish everyone at Ignite Imaginations all the best for the future, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside them. I would also like to give a special shout out to my supervisor Katie, who has always been there when I have had any queries and really made me feel welcome right from the start of my internship. Also, I would like to give a big thank you to Luisa, the CEO of Ignite Imaginations, for allowing me to have this opportunity and for taking me on!