Jack Petchey Internship Programme 2019: “Any opportunity to build your network should be taken with both hands.”
My name is Max and I am currently employed as a Schools and Programme Intern at the Construction Youth Trust, a charity which inspires young people about careers in Construction and the Built Environment and support them to achieve their full career potential. I have been here just over three months now but feel very much part of the Construction Youth Trust family!
Having attended a secondary school that was under Ofsted special measures for the time I was there, I have always wanted to work within education, in particular helping those young people facing the biggest barriers to realise their full potential. So when I saw the job listing on charityjob.com, I immediately applied and am grateful to have been given the chance to prove myself despite having just graduated from university.
The interview process was the best I’ve ever had, starting with an informal chat with some colleagues I would be working with to shake out any nerves, as well as providing an opportunity to ask some questions before the formal interview. This worked exactly as intended and felt really organic, which is not something which can be said for every interview process. After having the formal interview with my current line manager, Pearl, and the partnerships manager, Tom, I was given a short written task to summarise our Schools Partnership programme catalogue, which was helpful in providing me with a better insight into what the Trust does for young people.
My overall impression of the Trust was definitely a good one – everyone seemed very relaxed and friendly and when leaving the interview I was simultaneously pleased that it had gone well but also in nervous anticipation of hearing back, as after meeting everyone I knew I really wanted to get the job. The next week I got the call that I had been accepted and the week after I went back to Bermondsey where the Trust is based to start my new job!
My first week at the Trust was a hectic one as schools had just come back from the summer holidays so it was important to meet with our school contacts and plan our strategy for the year. Rather than sitting me in the office to read through staff policies, Pearl brought me along to all these meetings which was really helpful in allowing me to get my head around all the different aspects of what the trust does, and was definitely more helpful than spending my first week in the office reading through policy documents!
From here, I started to shadow my colleagues in their delivery of our Schools Partnership programme, where the Trust goes into schools and delivers Contextualised Curriculum sessions, which teach maths and science topics situated within a different construction-related role, such as Quantity Surveying or Architecture. More recently I have been delivering these sessions by myself, and while at first this was very daunting, going from assisting with sessions to standing in front of the class on my own, I now feel really comfortable delivering sessions to students.
As well as this, I have helped my team in recruiting for our 3-day Budding Brunels programmes, aimed at Year 12 & 13 students and focused around academic careers within construction. This support has ranged from contacting schools and delivering recruitment assemblies, keeping track of applications, and helping my colleagues deliver the three programmes we’ve put on so far this year. Recently I have been tasked with drafting reports for these programmes to be sent to our funders, which has not only been one of the most enjoyable tasks that I’ve had to complete so far, but has been very useful in helping take stock of the programme and how effective it was in exposing the young people to construction careers.
All in all, I am really excited for the new year at the Trust, the start of which will be focused on our community-based projects, a side to our work that I’ve not seen yet, and I am hoping to gain a lot from the experience and learn how our work impacts those harder-to-reach young people.
Alongside this, Jack Petchey Foundation has been providing support for our personal development. This began with a 2-day residential at Gilwell Park which revolved around team-building and most importantly provided a forum to meet our fellow Jack Petchey Interns! As well as this, the Foundation are hosting five personal development workshops throughout the year; the first of which was designed to improve our public speaking skills and was incredibly useful, especially considering public speaking is a skill that I use constantly in my role. Finally, the charity has sourced personal mentors for each intern to help support our development and I look forward to meeting my mentor and discussing my future career pathways in the New Year!
I am incredibly grateful to both Construction Youth Trust and the Jack Petchey Foundation for investing in my personal development – it would have been very easy to put me into an entry-level role as an administrative assistant but I have been stretched and challenged (just enough) in my role so far! Moreover, I’m looking forward to utilising the £1,000 Jack Petchey Foundation training bursary to its fullest and I am currently planning to use most of this on training courses for analytical software packages such as SPSS and NVivo as that is an area where I feel like I am lacking.
My advice to those thinking about applying to the Jack Petchey Internship Programme is don’t think twice – just do it! Nowhere else will you get such an opportunity to work for such amazing youth organisations while being paid at the same time. Being part of a network of interns is a great opportunity to meet similarly minded young people – if there is one thing that I have learned so far in my role is that networking is a vital skill to have and that any opportunity to build your network should be taken with both hands.