West of England Black Interns Pilot

The West of England Black Interns Pilot offered 50 paid internships to black students living or studying in the region for four weeks beginning 6 September 2021. In the South West, Mayor Marvin Rees and Chris Hill, the CEO of Hargreaves Lansdown, have been inspired by the ambition and the simplicity of the #10000BlackInterns initiative. This sits alongside other projects, including Stepping Up.

In order to maximise the impact on young people in the region at a time when unemployment is rising, Hargreaves Lansdown launched the West of England Black Interns Pilot with the support of the Bristol City Council.

To gain insight into the programme, interns have provided a review of their time with Bristol City Council, exploring key responsibilities, skills developed and highlights of their time as an intern.

Abraham – the Mayor’s Office

As an intern at the Mayor’s Office, I gained great insight into the many projects being commissioned by the Bristol City Council and was provided the opportunity to work with the Mayor of Bristol.

A highlight from my time as an intern was accompanying Marvin Rees to a speech at Oasis Academy Brightstowe, in which I gained invaluable insight into Mayoral leadership in the city. From the very first moment I entered the City Hall, I was met with a positive can-do attitude embodied by all the council’s workers, thus making the work environment motivational and enjoyable. The support received from my two supervisors Paige and Hannah was above and beyond, providing me with key insight into the many career paths available following the internship.

My time in the Mayor’s Office has also given me the opportunity to network with partner organisations and a variety of departments within the council. Following a meeting with the Head of Finance, I was given the opportunity to work alongside experts in the field and assigned a report/briefing to publish. I would greatly recommend a career within Bristol City Council, as the ethos of the organisation/working environment is beyond welcoming and the support provided by the Mayor and members of staff has been life changing.

Musa – Finance

My favourite part of the internship experience has been the opportunity to network within a prestigious environment. Working in an environment where everyone is friendly and collaborative provided me with the opportunity to network with experts as well as gain advice and perspectives from their professional careers. Something I found surprising during my internship was the organisation of the Council. Upon entering the office, I was taken back by how large the building was, how the teams and departments were set out, all the digitised data and documentation systems as well as other programs/platforms used daily.

I liked the variety of challenging tasks set by my managers and the opportunity to assist in tasks set by the finance and auditing departments. The internship has greatly pushed me and motivated me to achieve success in my future career. I encourage everyone coming in after me to have a positive mindset and not to be afraid to communicate your reservations to your managers especially if you ever start to feel overwhelmed, as everyone is very understanding.

Adila – Communications

While interning in the Communications department for Bristol City Council, I gained great experience working with different teams, sharing ideas and learnt lots. I heard inspirational accounts by guest speakers on their career journeys, taking tips as I continue to embark on my own journey. My best moments include meeting the Mayor, receiving valuable insight, talking to cabinet members and attending a Full Council meeting live in the Council Chamber. Designing, forming and presenting a self-directed mini-campaign within the departments I worked with at City Hall was surely another highlight, as well as networking with other interns on the programme. The internship provided a valuable opportunity to navigate your interests into the world of work, helping form your next steps.

Biniyam – Energy Team

During the time I spent with Bristol City Council, I have gained different invaluable skills by working with the energy team. The ability to work collaboratively on different projects has given me an opportunity to build communication, team-working and time-management skills. Furthermore, I have boosted my critical thinking skills by applying the theory I have learnt at university to the work environment. During my four weeks, I really enjoyed the site visits and events I attended in person, which I believe both assisted to observe the technical aspect of the work and network with professionals from various areas of experts. Overall, I am delighted with the structure of the internship, my time working with the council and am grateful for all the support I received.

Liam – Finance

My internship experience was incredibly valuable. I learnt about the intricate workings of the council, particularly the finance department. There were many opportunities to develop soft skills whilst better positioning me to applying to a graduate scheme and a Master’s in Finance. One of my favourite experiences, which demonstrated my analytical skills, was the opportunity to work on financial forecasts which directly influence documents presented to cabinet and publicly published financial plans. Other highlights were participating in weekly calls with senior staff within the financial department and attending Full Council and Cabinet.

The opportunity to meet the Mayor of Bristol and the Chief Executive was an inspiring experience providing me with valuable career insights. Talking to senior directors within the council about their careers greatly helped me plan for my goal of entering financial services industry. I have gained worthwhile career contacts and friends, memories I will never forget, clarity around my career goals and the skills to get to my chosen destination. I would recommend applying to the internship program as it offers a great opportunity to improve your employability skills and gain valuable work experience.