The Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) Service began in 2011 as a collaboration of universities, led by the University of Kent. The Service enables them to evaluate the impact of their widening participation-focused outreach activities. In 2014, HEFCE agreed to fund the roll-out the service from 21 universities to other English universities.
The HEAT Central team were joined by three Work-Study Scheme (WSS) interns in January 2016 and we are keen to share our experiences with colleagues in the across the university. We worked with the Careers & Employability Service (CES) to advertise two positions, a Data Assistant and an Administration Assistant, both for 5 hours per week. Students who had registered for the Work-Study Scheme were contacted by CES and invited to submit CVs and covering letters if they were interested in either of the posts. Hannah Greer, the Work-Study Scheme Coordinator supported short-listing and arranged the interviews and ensured the entire process was easy.
(L-R: Isabella Brobbey, John Mbewa and Leann Phillips)
There were 23 applicants, and 8 were interviewed, following the usual procedures laid out by Kent’s HR. There was a wide range of candidates, studying different subjects and with a variety of prior work experience. Our general impression was very positive. The majority of the applicants had worked hard at their applications, and had clearly prepared for interview. The quality of three of the candidates was outstanding, and being unable to decide who would not be offered a position, we agreed to take all three: two final years and one second year undergraduate, studying law, psychology and creative writing.
All three of our interns have been able to fit into an existing team, undergoing office moves, with ease. They are confident, quick to learn things they have not encountered before and show an interest in everyday operations of an office, as well as in the data HEAT manages. They are gaining new skills and experience that will be applicable in their careers and we are benefiting from the work they do, and have an increased respect for the adaptability of Kent students.
We would definitely recommend that colleagues in a position to offer internships find out more about the Work-Study Scheme and provide students with a window, not just into their particular field of work, but into the professional world of work too.