Thursday, 22 July 2010

Work experience with UNICEF - the insider's view!

Josie's view
Hey, my name is Josie. I’ve just finished doing my AS levels at school - which means it’s come to that terrifying time in life when I have to decide what I want to do with my future! I’ve always been interested in working for UNICEF, or something similar, because I really want to work abroad and generally make a difference. So, when I saw on the UNICEF website that you could do work experience with them I was really excited and applied – now I’m lucky enough to be sitting in the UNICEF UK office telling you all about it! And funnily enough someone else had the same idea…

Lucia's view
Hi, my name is Lucia. I was lucky enough to finish my GCSEs before the rest of my friends, meaning I had a week to do whatever I wanted before the summer holidays started! I’ve always had an interest in UNICEF and the amazing work they do all over the world. The idea of working for an organisation like UNICEF, or WHO, in the future really appeals to me so, when I saw that UNICEF UK offered work experience I was very excited!

Monday morning - Josie and I arrived at the office in London at the same time, even though we’d never met! After we finally worked out how to open the doors, we were met by Rosie, who was to be our supervisor for the week. We were shown around and introduced to everyone we’d be working with. We both felt really welcome straight away – all the team are so lovely and friendly!

Our first task was to help the media team with their epic job of going through ALL the weekend and day’s newspapers, looking for any stories relevant to UNICEF and their work. It was an interesting opportunity to get a better insight into what UNICEF UK is really involved in. This took quite a while! When we were done, we were asked to help organise and research data about MPs. It felt satisfying to help as this information is going to be used in UNICEF UK’s efforts to implement the Robin Hood Tax.

The next day started again with media monitoring, and would for the rest of the week. This didn’t matter – it never got boring – there were interesting stories every day, although it took some effort to find them! We then were asked to brainstorm ideas for the up-and-coming Underage Festival where UNICEF UK will be having a stall trying to encourage more young people to join Tagd and sign the petition for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We were also asked for any feedback on Tagd. Honestly, this was quite a scary and challenging task, but it felt really good that our input was valued and, even as young people, our ideas were useful. Another exciting job on Tuesday was writing an article for Tagd about the current crisis in Kyrgyzstan.

Wednesday was mostly spent helping out Jazmin, who works on climate change. We searched the web to compile a list of blogs all about the environment, for UNICEF UK’s use in the future.

We’ve been working so hard this week that we kind of ran them out of things for us to do on Thursday morning. We tried to show some initiative by posting the MDG campaign, and link to the petition on Facebook so that our friends could get involved. You should do the same – it really makes a difference!! Our day soon livened up though, with a meeting all about UNICEF’s work in Yemen. It was fascinating to find out about the extent of the problems faced in our world, and the way UNICEF works tirelessly to solve them. The rest of the afternoon we worked again on the climate change campaign by assessing the Tagd campaign and resources, doing some more data work for the Robin Hood Tax and writing this!

We can’t believe that our time here is ending now! It’s been such a brilliant experience - getting such an insight into the work of UNICEF UK; feeling useful; and generally being motivated to support UNICEF’s campaigns and efforts more in the future, as we’ve seen how much hard work goes into them and the genuine effect they have.

If you would like to do work experience at UNICEF UK then check out these work experience pages on the UNICEF website.