Getting Into Fundraising May 21, 2013Posted by Jeff Riley in : international development , add a comment
Thanks very much to one of our readers who has kindly allowed us to make some advice we gave her public
“Dear Jeff, I hope you don’t mind me getting in touch. I am a regular on your website and have taken on a lot of advice in your book ‘Getting Into International Development’ .I am writing to seek your advice and I apologise as I am sure you receive many emails similar to mine! However if you can give it, any advice on my current position would be invaluable and much appreciated.
I graduated in 2011 with a first in International Development and Geography. Since leaving university I worked voluntarily as a Fundraising Events Co-ordinator for a large NGO, completed a programmes based internship with a children’s charity and completed an internship with a microfinance charity including going to Malawi for three months to implement part of their project. I have recently had four interviews relating to fundraising and projects and unfortunately have not been successful with any of them. However the interview feedback they have given me is not enough experience although I have been in the final two for three of the interviews. I have been applying for jobs since the end of February.
Would you recommend I complete another internship or sit tight and hope more of an entry level appears?
Thank you in advance,
Hi Rosa, actually I don’t get that many direct contacts and it’s nice to hear from a real live reader!
- Firstly, you are on your way . . . you have the qualifications, determination and experience. Don’t forget that or give up. The fact you are getting shortlisted regularly is a really good sign. You have been applying since February . . . well its still only May and you haven’t done badly with your strike rate!
- Secondly, the only time you can guarantee that you have enough experience is when you are offered a job. So that feedback might be right and I would suggest that until you get a job that you carry on getting experience.
- Thirdly, even though fundraising is an easier route into development than, say, policy or research, it is still competitive. So do consider less fashionable fundraising sectors before pitching for really popular ones. I remember interviewing one fundraising professional who built up her experience with an unfashionable charity – something like ‘Help The Aged’ before she landed a fundraising job with UNICEF. Remember even when the Apollo spacecraft went to the moon they had to head in a different direction but they always knew they were on course.
- Do check out our resources on careerstagged.co.uk search on fundraising – the institute of fundraising has some job seeking tips. http://www.careerstagged.co.uk/resources/fundraising/all/popular/1 The institute of fundraising also runs short courses – maybe that would just give you the edge you need? They are also having a national convention in July – maybe you could ask to volunteer there and network while you are at it?
- Also are you using our jobonline site http://jobonline.thecareersgroup.co.uk/careersgroup/student/ ? A search on fundraising as a keyword search will yield quite a few good opportunities
Automate your opportunity search May 13, 2013Posted by Jeff Riley in : Careers Advice, Careers Resources, vacancies , 5comments
This blog post is about a great way to automate your opportunity search. It explains how you can use a great free web service called If This Then That (IFTTT.Com) to ensure that any relevant opportunities in areas such as charities or NGOs or in government and politics (or, indeed, any sector you might be interested in) are sent to your email account.
Hang on a moment, you might say – “What’s so new about that? Haven’t we been able to do that since about 1997!” And it’s true job sites such as Prospects, Target Jobs and Milkround have been cluttering up my inbox for ages with vacancies.
What’s good about IFTTT is that it allows you to get email notifications even from job sites such as GumTree that, unlike Prospects and Target Jobs, don’t have this kind of email notification option built in. Crucially IFTTT can be used to keep you updated from one of the best graduate vacancy sites, our very own JobOnline.
I have created an IFTTT instruction or ‘recipe’ as they call them to send me an email every time an opportunity appears on JobOnline in either international development or politics. And the good thing is that, if you register on IFTTT, you can simply use my recipe rather than creating your own. Just register and search for my recipe using my username Jefffromclapham as your search term, click to use it and the notifications will be sent to your nominated email account as well as mine. Of course you are also welcome to set up and share your own ‘recipes’. My recipe triggers an email when something happens in a specific ‘channel’ in this case the RSS feed from a JobOnline search but you can use other ‘triggers’ and other ‘channels’
You can use IFTTT to generate lots of different types of actions – emails, text messages, downloading for example – from a wide range of different ‘channels’ such as RSS feeds, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr and many more. Not just job searches either some people use IFTTT to be notified by email every time a free book download appears on Amazon, save Facebook status updates to Evernote or copy Facebook photos they are tagged in to their G drive.
Like the British Cycling Team you are using technology to create a marginal difference that cumulatively can help deliver success
Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman are hiring! May 10, 2013Posted by fionarichardson in : The Careers Group Blogs, politics , add a comment
Thanks to my colleague, Fiona Richardson, who works with War Studies students at King’s College London. She has flagged up one of the many interesting vacancies on our JobOnline service on her blog at http://www.careers.lon.ac.uk/blog/ppp
Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman are just two of the MPs advertising on JobOnline for a Case Worker or Parliamentary Assistant. There are currently 6 vacancies posted so whatever your political persuasion there should be something there to interest you. I have been careful not to include any that require you to have previous parliamentary experience though most do expect some evidence of research, community or casework experience. This need not come from employment but could certainly be garnered from volunteer work, internships or academic work. For more tips on how to get a job working for an MP look at the blog from 6th Feb 2013 on Working in Westminster.
Politics Opportunities April 30, 2013Posted by Jeff Riley in : politics , add a comment
Here are a couple of opportunities for students interested in politics to add a dimension to their CVs. They won’t replace the need to get a good quality degree and internship experience but they are the kind of things that I often see on the CVs of students who are heading in the right direction.
- The International Political Forum offers an opportunity to demonstrate your capacity to write and communicate ideas. This kind of platform set up by engaged students underlines the brilliant array of opportunities for people to reach out beyond their course and campus. Here is what they say about themselves
Have an opinion? Share it with the world and gain experience at the same time! The International Political Forum (IPF) is dedicated to getting young people involved in the global digital debate, and that means we want you to write for us. We can offer you a fast-growing platform: despite being founded less than a year ago, our website has already received over 200,000 views and our Facebook page has over 6,000 Likes – a figure now growing at a rate of 800 per week. We host original content authored by 120 young contributors from 30 countries around the world, and are embarking on a number of larger projects to grow (y)our platform in 2013. We’re also gaining recognition from leading media organisations: we are members of the Guardian Africa Network and winners of a Virgin Media Pioneers trip to India, during which our founder met Richard Branson.
If you’re well-informed, write well, and feel passionately that not enough is being done about something, we want to help you throw the spotlight onto that issue. To be a part of the IPF, send a sample article (a good length is 800 to 1,300 words) and a short introductory paragraph about yourself to Natasha@internationalpoliticalforum.com.
To learn more about the IPF:
Visit our website at www.internationalpoliticalforum.com, like “International Political Forum” on Facebook, Or follow @intlpolitical on Twitter
- Secondly we have been notified about a Model European Council organised by the Cambridge University European Society. Again an excellent opportunity to raise the bar on what is possible.
We are contacting you on behalf of the Cambridge University European Society and would like to bring to your attention the Model European Council we are holding this June. We would like to ask you if you could be so kind as to inform your students about the Model and encourage them to apply via our website.
About the Model:
The Cambridge University European Society (CUEuS) is organising its first Model European Council from 14 June to 16 June 2013 in one of the colleges of the University of Cambridge. The conference will simulate the negotiations of the main European institutions for students from the UK and the rest of Europe. It sets out to engage around 70 participants in debating topical issues in European politics. Each participant will represent a European member state and will act on its behalf in the EU decision-making process. As such, the participants will gain skills in research, critical thinking, persuasive speaking and understanding contemporary European affairs. The topics covered by the negotiations will be 1) the budget negotiations (Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020) 2) the Greek rescue package (Eurogroup meeting) and 3) the common approach to youth unemployment in Europe.
Application Procedure: Interested candidates are invited to fill out the application form on our website. You will be asked to choose a preference for the simulation and add your CV and a motivation letter. The applications are open until the 3rd of May 2013. For more information please consult our website http://cueuropeansociety.wordpress.com/model-european-council/ and our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CambridgeModelEuropeanCouncil.
As always you will be able to find similar opportunities to this by using our CareersTagged online library. A search using the term ‘politics’ will yield best results for this type of opportunity
International Citizen Service – Restless Development April 17, 2013Posted by Jeff Riley in : NGO, international development , 1 comment so far
We recently published a report from a student enrolled in the International Citizen Service Programme through VSO. Now James Cheung an LSE student has written about his experiences with Restless Development – one of the other organisations delivering the programme.
“I just returned from a 3 month (January to March) volunteering placement in a small rural community in Eastern Uganda, with an international NGO called Restless Development. I was working in a small team of 4 volunteers (2 national, 2 international) on a project funded by UK DFID (the Department for International Development), on David Cameron’s flagship volunteering scheme called the International Citizen Service. Our project was aimed at raising awareness and promoting discussion of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, primarily with youth aged between 15 and 35.
“We began our programme with an intensive training course, and then the group of 40 volunteers split into 10 teams across different sub-counties in eastern Uganda. We volunteered as peer educators to facilitate workshops on a range of topics including HIV issues such as stigma and discrimination, STI knowledge and prevention, Gender Rights and Life Skills, such as leadership and communication. We ran sessions in a secondary school, with youth groups and the whole community. We managed community based partnerships alongside the local government and various organisations to run events including health centre talks, condom demonstration and distribution, dialogues and, HIV voluntary counselling and testing to over 300 participants. Our achievements include establishing a youth group (www.nambicommunityresourcecentre.com/blog), and creating partnerships to continue the charity’s work in the community.
“Challenges that we came across included cultural barriers, for example on gender equality we experienced cultural attitudes that could limit female roles in society, a language barrier, poor timekeeping, environmental issues (seeing an 8ft cobra outside our house one night), domestic violence and school corporal punishment. The experience taught me about the problems that so many still face on a daily basis, we lived for 3 months without electricity or running water but there were friends we made who struggled to pay the school fees of their children, needed to bribe officials to get jobs, and who couldn’t rely on government services like the health service and benefits that we know. I have volunteered in the past but this was the first time I was welcomed so openly and fully into a community, we ate and talked and worked with so many different people and learnt from each other. I experienced optimism and positivity- we watched presidential elections in neighbouring Kenya and debated democracy, and I met students that studied till 5am so they could attend university.
“Learning more about development issues and contributing to help improve lives will always make a difference. This doesn’t necessarily mean volunteering or a big commitment but everyone can do their part.”
Macchiatos, Kosovo and a Life Changing Experience April 12, 2013Posted by fionarichardson in : The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Thanks to Fiona Richardson from King’s College London for posting this blog about a summer school opportunity.
Andrea Garaiova is currently enrolled on the MA International Peace and Security, she has twice taken part in the summer programme run by the American University in Kosovo (AUK). Andrea found the experience so valuable she was keen to make students aware of this year’s programme. There is no escaping the fact that the experience comes with a hefty course fee but there are scholarships available, look under the application form tab of the website http://summer.aukonline.org/ .
Over to Andrea……
The Summer Programme 2013 on Peace-building, Post-conflict Transformation and Development organized by the American University in Kosovo is a fascinating experience, with incredible people and in exceptional environment – Pristina, Kosovo. Its participants are selected on the basis of their academic, extra-curricular and professional achievements and other elements from their backgrounds, in order to ensure the greatest possible diversity, excellence and mutual learning. Based on my personal experience, I can attest that the AUK succeeds at attracting brilliant, passionate, open-minded and dedicated students. On an everyday basis one finds oneself in a vivid discussion about religious tolerance, development practices or international interventions with peers from Pakistan, Peru, Egypt, Japan, Kosovo, Serbia, United States, Lithuania, Lebanon, Palestine, Azerbaijan, Israel, Nigeria and many other corners of the world.
The classes provide a comprehensive background in the central issues of conflict resolution, post-conflict transformation and development, ranging from history of the Balkans to UN interventions in foreign lands, economic theory and practice in post-conflict environments as well as issues of human rights or role of the media and journalism in conflict situations. The courses are taught by real world practitioners, e.g. former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN in Kosovo, former generals, individuals with experience in development agencies such as USAID and in UN international interim/transitory administrations (UNMIK), leaders of local NGOs and many others. What is more, lecturers often bring in special speakers and guests – such as officers of the EU’s rule of law and justice mission in Kosovo (EULEX), Kosovo anti-corruption agency, Kosovo Government, International Committee of the Red Cross, international and national media representatives, different embassies based in Pristina. Last year, a group of students was received by the President of the Republic of Kosovo in an informal meeting.
The academic side of the programme is complemented by roundtables held at the end of each week with diplomats, financial institutions representatives, NGOs and journalists, thus giving the students the opportunity to ‘test’ the knowledge they have acquired in classes by raising issues and posing questions to those who are dealing with realities of a post-conflict, developing and state-’built’ environment every day. The panels also provide an excellent opportunity to network and establish contacts for future projects (dissertations, internships etc.).
All this happens in the vibrant capital city of Prishtina, with its unique atmosphere, overwhelmingly young and dynamic population and omnipresent caffes, bars and restaurants serving the best macchiatto in Europe (as every Kosovar tries to convince you, and it is not hard to believe) and the delicious Balkan cuisine. The programme also offers weekend trips to all the main cities and ‘tourist attractions’ in Kosovo as well as two week-long trips in other Balkan countries (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece), thus making it a true adventure full of new discoveries, sceneries, tastes and experiences.
While many foreigners are preoccupied about security in Kosovo, the words of one of the US Embassy officials in Pristina depict the true reality on the ground: ‘the only real danger in Kosovo is to drink too many macchiattos’ . Many of the previous participants have said that the AUK Summer Programme was a life-changing experience, numerous of them returning to Kosovo to pursue new activities and passions. While I cannot but agree with the ‘warning’ of the US representative, I have come to believe that the most plausible danger in Kosovo is that you fall in love with the country, as many did before you, and that you will be drawn back to it again and again.
Application process is open until 1 May 2013!
International Citizen Service – VSO April 9, 2013Posted by Jeff Riley in : international development, working abroad , add a comment
Faradh Maharoof, a student from Queen Mary, University of London has written for us about his preparations before departing on a three month internship in Malindi, Kenya. Faradh’s piece really gets across his enthusiasm and resourcefulness and underlines how this kind of project can make a real difference to everyone involved – including the volunteers. We hope we can persuad Faradh to send us an update from Kenya. Until then read his post and get some inspiration and information.
The International Citizen Service (ICS) is a government funded programme that gives young people (18-25) an opportunity to volunteer abroad for three months. Run by six of the most respected names in international volunteering, the programme empowers young people to work within communities and help tackle poverty.
Why did I apply to the ICS programme? I find it hard to pinpoint one defining or single reason as to why I applied for the ICS programme. What I am sure of is that my decision to join this programme stems from an empathetic nature and my many travels and holidays in the developing world. From a young age my travels to countries like Sri Lanka, India, Mongolia and even China have enabled me to witness the profound depth of poverty and the glaring inequalities that exist within our global society today. These collective experiences have often left me frustrated and angry, at having to witness such a struggle while being placed in the shoes of a helpless onlooker. Seeing so much deprivation has instilled in me a long standing desire to take arms in the fight against poverty and this is a fundamental reason for my commitment to this programme.
Such underlying feelings have also led me towards a career in international development and it is an area that I have been taking a number of steps in. However, I am just starting out and I view this programme as wonderful opportunity for someone like me, as it allows young people to develop skills, knowledge and experiences. I hope this experience can help my career aspirations in the long run. One more factor that drew me to this programme was the opportunity to immerse myself in another country, another culture and another way of life for three months; and make a real difference while doing so. I found the ICS programme better able to provide a more comprehensive volunteering experience. They only take on projects that have been specifically requested by local authorities and communities, and are run by six of the most respected charities in international volunteering. To be able to work and learn in such a committed environment was too good to turn down.
The journey before the journey Once you have gone through all the emotions of being accepted onto the ICS programme, with the charity you have been assigned to, the next few months before departure can feel like an eternity. Despite being a mere two weeks away from my scheduled departure date, I cannot help feel impatient and restless; I sense that this will continue until I step onto the plane, where these emotions will be replaced by nerves and apprehension. The ‘pre-departure’ period is dominated by three main responsibilities, fundraising, vaccinations and the training weekend.
Fundraising Initially, the idea of having to fundraise £800 was daunting, especially considering that I have never engaged in this kind of activity before. However, the ideas and support provided by the VSO fundraising team have been wonderful, and most, if not all of my fundraising ideas, came as a direct result of the support and ideas they provided. I found that planning ahead and taking into account a number of different fundraising strategies were crucial to my success.
My two main strategies were to organise charity events and get donations from friends, family and colleagues. While the latter approach has provided me with the majority of my funding, I found the former approach to be an enriching experience. By organising a number of charity football matches, mini-marathons, and social gatherings I was able to raise awareness, and importantly gain a better appreciation of the organisational skills and commitment needed to succeed in the international development sector.
I should also inform you that I have just been granted £300 from Jack Petchey Foundation. I was aware of a number of different grant options, but hadn’t applied to any as I was unsure on how successful I would be pursuing this strategy. It seemed a bit far-fetched but after a conversation with my fundraising officer I decided to apply for the Jack Petchey Foundation’s Volunteering grant, in fact I just made the deadline. How well it turned out then. I applied to the Jack Petchey Foundation as I had known them from a very young age, over the years I had become well aware of just how much they invest in the youth of London and just being able to apply and meet their eligibility criteria was a humbling experience. To actually receive their support, and such a generous amount of support, has left me speechless and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for this.
Overall, the fundraising has been a positive experience and one that is designed to test your commitment to the programme. I would encourage everyone on the ICS programme to take on board all of the support and advice provided, as it helped me reach my target. During the experience I was able to network with some wonderful people, all of whom provided me with ideas and support that have been helpful to my cause. Among them are two journalists who have helped put my project on few local newspapers, and I am truly grateful for their help in both, raising awareness of the ICS programme and also encouraging more young people to take part.
Vaccinations The vaccinations, all eight of them, have been the least inspiring part of the pre-departure process but also a very important part of it, without them you cannot take your place on the programme. I am not particularly scared of injections; I have never had a phobia of needles, or clowns for that matter, but the notion of eight injections did leave me slightly uneasy. I have always been a bit naive as to their importance and despite travelling on a regular basis; I have only been vaccinated against a couple of the major threats. Therefore I am grateful to this programme; in the sense that it made me do something I would not have done so otherwise, which is to take my health more seriously when I am travelling.
Training weekend Another compulsory component of the pre-departure process is the training weekend, which is held in Birmingham, London or York. My weekend took place in Birmingham, fortunately in one of the nicer parts of the city, and I had to opportunity to meet around 15-20 other volunteers. It is vital to attend on the training dates provided as you will have a chance to meet a few volunteers who will be travelling with you to the same country and undertaking the same project. It is one of the only ways before departure whereby you have the chance to meet and get to know your teammates. Otherwise it can be a case of heading off into to the unknown, with the unknown.
The weekend itself is a very informative experience and it is run by two return volunteers. Their sessions cover everything from footwear to healthcare and are designed to prepare you for the three months abroad. Be prepared to do your fair share of singing, dancing, running and presenting during the weekend as the sessions are quite engaging. Factor in the drinking and socialising that follows the conclusion of each day and the weekend has the capacity to be ever so slightly tiring. Nevertheless, it is still an immensely enjoyable experience, one that allows socialising with likeminded people and the transfer of important information.
Pre-conceptions I haven’t really had the time to be nervous. The last few months have been frantic; currently I am undertaking an internship at the Democratic Progress Institute, as a fundraising and development intern while also holding onto my part-time, weekend job at the John Lewis Partnership. Having to work seven days a week is highly taxing, but by managing my holidays effectively and having the luck of the long Easter weekend, I have been able to recharge my batteries at timely moments. This has enabled me to stay committed on both fronts, but I haven’t had the luxury of thinking about my Kenya adventure for a prolonged period of time.
I am unsure how close the trip came to being called off due to the recent election violence, but I was informed of another volunteering team in Kenya being withdrawn due to safety concerns. This worries me endless, as I feel like I have so much to learn and experience from the whole three months and the thought of not going, or coming home early is my biggest fear at the moment. But I have taken the bigger picture into account, which is the shocking and unacceptable spate of violence that has unfortunately cost a lot of innocent lives.
Food poisoning is something that I have pretty much accepted is going to happen at some point during my three months. From information passed down to us and hearing experiences of other volunteers, it seems almost inevitable. 7 out of 10 volunteers are supposed to experience it. So there is possibly not much I can do, other than prepare for the worst. Sunburn is another hazard that has the potential to make life very uncomfortable. Though it has never been an issue for me I will still be taking the necessary precautions, especially after hearing some of the horror stories the VSO nurse had to share with us. Furthermore, living in an environment that has more bugs than you are used will take some adjusting, and while simple bites and bruises are to be expected, I am rather more concerned about malaria. I didn’t realise it was so easy to catch!
Final thoughts I still cannot believe I am going! In a conflicting way it seems to have happened so fast, before I knew it I am preparing for three months in Kenya, but at the same time the last two months have dragged. So I am glad that I am on that final stretch where I can start concentrating on packing and learning phrases in Swahili.
On a final note, I could not be happier with the choice of going to Kenya. On my application form I opted against selecting any charity, country or project preferences as I didn’t want to reduce my chances in any way. Naturally this meant that I had no idea as to which region I will be travelling or which type of work I will be undertaking. However, having only dreamt of going to Africa, I could not be happier with the choice of Kenya. We also seem to me be near the coast, and the thought of being a stone’s throw away from the beach is sending my excitement levels through the roof. The project theme is educational and disability needs, which are areas I look forward to learning more and gaining more experience in. Disability is an issue I feel strongly about and the fact that the welfare system we take for granted is almost non-existent in many parts of the world is something I have read about and even witnessed on a number of occasions. Therefore having the chance to help people that may not necessarily be able to help themselves is an experience I look forward to. We will also work on environmental issues at some point and this is an issue that I have come to love through my A-levels in Geography.
While I am excited about the project and the three months ahead, I cannot help feel that there will be plenty of challenges, good and bad, in the times to come. Therefore, I hope that the combination of experiences will help me learn more about the world of poverty and gain a better understanding of the struggle people in other parts of the world face on a daily basis.
Graduate recruitment, development consultancies, international development , 3comments
We were notified of an opportunity as an International Development / Business Administration graduate with WYG International – the international development consultancy arm of the WYG Group. I took a chance to talk to them about their work and the role they have on offer.
Firstly I just couldn’t help asking why they were based in Nottingham. Ján Michalko, one of WYG International’s Business Development Executives told me, “The location isn’t that meaningful for us because our operations here are just part of a global network. We have offices in several countries and regions including South Africa, Turkey, the Balkans – and, yes, Nottingham”
Having cleared that up I asked Ján about what lay behind the creation of the advertised post. “We already operate in a wide range of sectors – education, public finance, governance, and many more – but we are consciously expanding and diversifying our pool of donors. We have recently successfully become a supplier to DfID in various frameworks. So we really need a good applicant to help support our work in developing bids. We are bidding for work with donors such as the European Union, the World Bank as well as government departments”.
I asked about some of the ‘Job details’. Particularly about the element involving ‘strategic decision making on which projects (WYG International) should bid for’. I asked about what kinds of things are considered in this decision making. Ján was keen to reassure me that the successful graduate would be part of a team making these kinds of strategic decisions and that their contribution would be very much in a support capacity. “We would expect them,” he said, “to be conducting research about other likely bidders, for example. Or to review what resources, in terms of expertise and staff, we have available to help us deliver the work. Their contribution will be significant but it will be in conjunction with, and guided by, our experienced team.”
In a similar vein I touched on the element, ‘drafting of text and diagrams for bids’. Again Ján was clear that this did not mean the recruit would be writing entire bids but, rather, they could be asked to be draft or write sections or to source diagrams and pictures. “This could include using Excel to produce charts, for example,” he said, “but we have designers to make the documents conform to our standards. It could mean, for example, providing data that analyses a previous project. Items such as where money has been spent, what is the gender balance in the people impacted by our projects, recording measurements of success – a whole range of data, including numerical data.”
I asked Ján what he would be looking for when he reviews applications. “Confidence and some experience around dealing with data and solid analytical skills. This needn’t have been through previous consultancy work but would probably be more than just academic experience. Our bids don’t just involve researching material externally but we have an archive of material from previous bids. Having, in other words, the ability to review and retrieve pertinent information and integrate with other material. Other qualities we are looking for include ‘independence’, flexibility (especially when we are trying to meet tender deadlines) and research skills.”
I also asked Ján whether developing country experience was necessary. “We are an international development consultancy but the role has a dual aspect – business administration as well as international development. Developing country could be helpful but it isn’t a requirement. We are much more focused on the analytical and research skills. The role isn’t an international one – though we have a global network of offices and you may be called on to work overseas and meet clients when you have more experience. Mainly, though you will be office based. Having said that you will definitely need people skills – our bids are developed in teams of consultants and experts and in conjunction with other partners. So being able to get along with others is an important element.
Applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible although the nominal closing date is May 17th. Details from http://bit.ly/17eYqxK
Diary of an NGO intern at DPI March 22, 2013Posted by gemmaludgate in : NGO, The Careers Group Blogs, politics , add a comment
Here is another post from my colleague Gemma Ludgate who works with the War Studies Department at King’s College, London. This is an interview with an intern at the Democratic Progress Institute.
Many thanks to Christopher, current DPI intern and War Studies student for this insight into the reality of interning… (For those of you not familiar with DPI they are an independent non-governmental organisation, seeking to provide expertise, combining research and practicable approaches to broaden bases for wider public involvement in promoting peace and democracy building.)
I chose to apply for a research internship at DPI as I thought it would give me an opportunity to engage in issues I was not immediately familiar with, and develop a stronger understanding of the ways in which a conflict resolution organisation functions. My interest in research and learning in the areas of peacebuilding/democracy building institutions rather than performing typical administrative duties alone drove me to make DPI a priority of interest as opposed to other organisations that might not afford me such capabilities every working day.
A large aspect of DPI’s work involves research, particularly regarding Middle Eastern and North African contexts as there is direct relevance to the aims and objectives of DPI within the organisation. The circulation of information at DPI is unique and useful – events and news that perhaps are not captured in the media spotlight are highlighted and shared among staff and interns. If you like an environment in which you are consistently learning about issues that you perhaps were not familiar with initially, the Institute provides this in abundance.
Working hours for interns typically involve a minimum of 3 days a week, sometimes delegated with flexibility to accommodate studying commitments. There are around 8 staff members complimented by around 7-9 unpaid interns. Work stations for interns are accommodating and perfectly functional – computers are located within the basement area and staff members are very helpful in offering the maximum amount of resources available to make life easier. Facilities are in perfect working condition to provide a positive atmosphere; interns are friendly and often from similar backgrounds of study (although geographically come from all over the world).
Interns are typically encouraged to sit among staff members and to rotate desks – all work stations are accessible by interns and staff alike. This allows a unique environment of knowing and understanding the work that staff and interns are doing within a period, giving transparency of the projects that are being undertaken within the organisation, and a good sense of teamwork and co-operation amongst everyone.
Research Internship position
I was granted a Research Internship position at DPI as part of the DPI-KCL War Studies Department Internship Programme. This programme offers limited places to KCL War Studies Department students with a specific interest in conflict resolution and democratic transition processes, and the placements offered centre around a specific research project.
My particular task at DPI has been to prepare a research report relevant to the aims and objectives of DPI. There was a lot of flexibility regarding my topic choice, and a lot of support offered regarding the possible routes and case studies I could look at. It is hoped that my research will result in an 8000-12,000 word working paper, and be used as a resource of the Institute. Topics to research at DPI include the role of diaspora, methods of civil society mediation, minority rights, effectiveness of grassroots democracy, the role of women in conflict resolution and many other related subjects. My choice of topic was the importance of approach when looking at the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration of combatants in a post-conflict context. Too often have strategies for DDR been drafted and formulated in policy-making circles by those who are themselves distanced from the conflict at ground level, and has struggled to be effective as a result. My paper looks at lessons learnt from previous unsuccessful DDR operations, and aims to reflect on ways to fully integrate all stakeholders in DDR processes to further enhance their effectiveness. One primary case study used in my paper was Afghanistan – the levels of exclusivity and disconnect from the many stakeholders involved in the conflict have perpetuated violence within this region, whilst the inability to create an environment worth reintegrating into has also stood as a problem for the prospects of civilian life. Afghanistan has therefore provided a valuable case study when looking at these particular issues.
One of the most unique aspects of the research internship position is the opportunity to significantly contribute to the research of the organisation in particular areas, and for the work that one does to be used by the Institute as part of their resources, whether on the DPI website, in published papers, or as part of interns
In addition to research projects, the main obligation for interns at DPI is to cover reception duty for at least one shift a week. This typically involves receiving phone calls and patching them through to the relevant recipients, posting outgoing mail and recording incoming mail, along with handling guests and incomers with care. This probably comes as the more mundane aspect of work, yet there are only very occasionally times where office duties occur throughout the whole day, and most of the time it is balanced. Everyone works together to organise shifts so that no one person has to consistently do them! The work is shared among internal knowledge
Tasks that require immediate attention are often sent out from staff members to interns in order for an intern/number of interns to complete. The delegation of resources and division of labour is therefore at the interns’ discretion when completing these. These two things invariably come as the only major obligations that interns are asked to fulfil within the office, and most of the time is spent working independently (and co-ordinated when required), in a self-supervised way.
Tips for interns at the Democratic Progress Institute:
- There is office etiquette to work effectively independently. You’re going to be engaging with tasks with relative freedom, yet when deadlines for jobs come by then they are expected to be completed with aplomb. Pretty much how you would function at university level.
- Commitment to the shifts you have chosen is required – the office is very friendly and understanding, but advanced notice must be given if you cannot attend a certain shift. Failure of notification creates problems in regards to delegating tasks if there are a different number of interns than initially agreed in the workplace. This is useful in getting a sense of what it is like to work for an organisation – the same applies to staff and interns alike.
- - Always ask when you encounter problems – all staff and interns alike are highly approachable. If you are finding trouble in doing something you were set out to do, don’t be afraid to ask!
- Ask staff what they are working on, to get an understanding of things that are going on in the office. Sharing among staff and interns often happens during monthly staff-intern lunches where everyone brings a dish of their own, and a staff member gives a talk on what they are working on. Contributing in these particular environments is encouraged.
Overall I can say that DPI has offered me an opportunity to really engage with important conflict issues that perhaps many other organisations would be less flexible about. Having the freedom to look in depth at DDR and some very specific elements of the subject has been a strong highlight on a personal level. The levels of transparency between staff and interns, along with the high levels of interaction between everyone in the team makes for a very pleasant working environment. Experience you gain here will definitely stand you in good stead for future prospects in the field of conflict resolution and democratic progress.
Thought you’d missed the Faststream boat? Not quite March 4, 2013Posted by gemmaludgate in : Government, The Careers Group Blogs, politics , add a comment
Now here’s another useful post from Gemma Ludgate, my colleague who works at King’s College, London. While I’m on the subject of Parliament I’m also going to flag up a list of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups which I posted on our Facebook site. Here is the direct link
Did you know that the Houses of Parliament have their own fast stream process?
Working in either House of Parliament is a fascinating career for anyone interested in the constitution, politics and public policy. Careers may appeal to those whose interests are divided between the academic and the practical, and who enjoy being close to the parliamentary process without to engage in the cut and thrust of politics themselves. Essential qualities for all these posts include an interest in current affairs, the capacity to work as a member of a team and the ability to produce information which is clear and accurate and advice which is persuasive, both in writing and orally, when under pressure. In both Houses political impartiality is essential to ensure the confidence of Members of Parliament of all parties. The capacity to lead and manage projects and teams is becoming increasingly important to those pursuing a career in either House.
Fast Streamers are employees of one or other House, not Civil Servants, and serve Parliament, not the Government of the day, although conditions of service and the grading structure are linked to, and kept broadly in line with, the Civil Service. In recent years two or three vacancies for Fast Streamers have arisen in each House annually. Fast Streamers can expect to serve in a variety of roles across either House from supporting Select Committees to involvement in the Houses’ administration.
Jobonline link here