The EP Team caught up with Holly-Jayne Wilkinson (English Language and Linguistics, stage 2) mid-way through her 10-week internship with Sevenoaks Town Council to see how she was getting on.
She gave us an enthusiastic overview of the variety of tasks she has been working on:
‘I have been assisting with research into a new business hub for the community, which involves helping to write up a business plan, contributing to marketing research, and presenting the project to the people in the community. Additionally, I contribute to the day-to-day running of the council, giving me a wide range of experiences including helping with other projects such as the renovation of the local train station, and town summer events.’
Holly has loved working on the business hub project, which involves changing the building above into a vibrant community space for business-people to be based, or occasionally hot-desk. There are also plans for an office and meeting room, as well as a kitchen area.
Holly appreciated the chance to improve on her public speaking skills. She pitched the hub concept to an audience of 12 people from the local community, and looks forward to presenting to over 80 representatives of local businesses next week, arranged by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. See Councillor Andrew Eyre’s tweet about Holly’s first presentation here.
She has also been offered the opportunity to undertake an Oral History Training workshop, which will aid her during her work on the renovation of the local train station. She will be helping to collect testimonials from the residents of Sevenoaks about their past experiences of Bat and Ball station.
‘The internship has been hugely beneficial to me, personally and for my career development. As someone who wants to go onto work in public service, the experience has been invaluable in seeing the relations between public servants and politicians and the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. I love that I have been given responsibility with my own project to work on and I have been able to develop in a very supportive environment.’
Town Clerk, Linda Larter, reflected on Holly’s time with the council:
‘Holly has been a great help and we hope she will take a lot away from the variety of experiences that we have given her. It has been a delight to have her here!’
Holly has had a big impact on the council’s website, putting to good use her background in computer science. She has introduced the use of Weebly to the offices, and shown staff members how to use it. She has found the members of staff at the council incredibly welcoming:
‘I have really lovely colleagues here! They are always willing to answer my questions and have been very helpful.’
Holly has also found her other EP rewards of great benefit to her placement with the council:
‘After Matt’s recommendation, I applied for work-shadowing with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. The experience was brilliant! I shadowed William Benson, and sat in on a Kent District meeting with all the District Councillors. During my brief time at this placement, I learnt the structure of local councils and how it all worked, which has really helped me during my internship. I have also been doing a remote placement with Dstl and found my research on accelerators very relevant to the business hub project.’
Holly gave us her thoughts on EP:
‘I love the EP scheme. I constantly tell people about it! I packed too much into my first year, and this scheme made a very difficult year worthwhile. I was on committees and did a lot of volunteering, being rewarded for my dedication to the University made it worth it! Applying for an internship through EP increases your chances of success so much, and going through the interview process was a very valuable experience! I would also really recommend going for work-shadowing, though it is not seen as being as prestigious a reward as the internships, I learnt more in two days than I had in a month of my degree – and it prepared me very well for my internship!’
You can find out more about Sevenoaks Town Council here.