My work placement with the Student Opportunity and Enhancement team

Helen Davies

Helen Davies, a Sports and Exercise Science student, is undertaking an industrial placement with the Student Opportunity and Enhancement team here at Leeds.  In this, her first post, she gives a summary of her role and the work of the team. This post is part of our mini-series  of themed posts about placements and work experience that we are running throughout September.

11 weeks down (already!); 41 to go. I don’t know where this summer has gone, time goes so quickly, before I know it it’s Friday again. But it really is true that you learn something new every day, even if it’s just that I need to press 9 on the phone before calling an external number!

So what have I been up to?

Well where do I start… I suppose from the beginning would be best: I’m Helen and this year I am the Student Opportunity and Enhancement (SOE) Intern here at Uni, which I secured through the Leeds Internship Programme.

What do the Student Opportunity & Enhancement team do?

The SOE office, located near the union, is home to the Volunteering Hub, LeedsforLife, and Students into Schools; hopefully you know about these, but if you don’t, check them out.  It is also home to the academic ‘behind the scenes’ work including the HEAR and the Student Education Conference. This may have totally gone over your head – it sometimes does for me too!  In more ‘basic’ terms we contribute to enhancing student education, by integrating academic and co-curricular opportunities. So as you might have gathered, the office covers such a broad array of activities and projects, that there are loads of exciting opportunities for me to become involved with.

Making the most of opportunities to develop skills & experience

My first week was all about finding my feet, health and safety training, asking lots of questions and coming up to speed with current projects in the office. It was my first week in full time work and I have now learnt to appreciate my weekends! Once my new shiny stationary arrived, my desk looked complete and I felt like a true employee. I have booked myself onto lots of staff training courses for my continued professional and personal development and it’s great that the skills I will learn from the training are so transferable and relevant to my course, Sport and Exercise Science. I recently attended two days of Excel training, so I am now an Excel expert (well sort of) and this was really helpful and informative.

Most of my work so far has been working with the Volunteering Hub team. Volunteering is something I have a keen interest in and have been actively involved with since coming to Leeds, but maybe I’ll save that for another blog. I have attended meetings with organisations, some on campus and others dotted around Leeds, constructed a volunteering blog proposal, written my first blog post and liaised with facilities about advertising specific volunteering opportunities. I have also now met with four student volunteers and had a chat with them about their volunteering experience and typed up their case study, ready for uploading to the Hub website. A lot of my work this year will be about communicating with students, through focus groups and case studies, to implement their views into our work within SOE.

I have also improved my social networking knowledge, which (admittedly) was pretty limited. I didn’t use Twitter much previously (I know what student doesn’t use Twitter?!). But anyway, I am now actively using Twitter to tweet about relevant updates and opportunities and I recently saw us hit a target of 2,000 followers.  The next challenge is 2,500 so for all you Twitter fans, please follow us at @Leedsvolunteer!


I am also the main point of contact for a new volunteering opportunity called the Barnardo’s ‘Resource Revamp Project’ that I have helped to organise and create. I have inputted into the construction of the project description, name and application form. I have also created a volunteer pack with documents on how to use Prezi, top tips for effective group work and a key dates timeline for staff and students. The project will run throughout the year and myself, staff in the SOE office and a staff member from Barnardo’s will be co-ordinating this.

As part of my academic requirements for my year in industry, I have to complete a written assignment. For this, I will be working with Chris Warrington in the SOE office on his USEF (University Student Education Fellowship) project, which is to explore and analyse the impact of the Partnership with regards to Student Engagement. As part of this project, there may be an opportunity for me to visit other universities, which would be very interesting. I am currently in the midst of starting the research for this project and collecting as many useful materials and resources as I can.

Oh and there’s also been a lot of tea drinking………And I think that pretty much brings us back to now.

I’m really looking forward to this year and the future projects I will be involved with when all you lovely students are back!

This post is part of a mini-series of themed posts about placements and work experience that we are running throughout September. Check out our Work Experience category for the other posts in the mini-series, as well as loads more, about work experience.

If you are looking for placements, internships or any other type of work experience, we are here to help you.  Check out our website for loads of advice and resources or talk to us, we’d love to help.

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Filed under Develop your employability, Work Experience

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